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UMLC sets the record straight on concerned parents’ data requests

After the Mankato Free Press ran an editorial criticizing UMLC’s client’s data request to the Owatonna School District, UMLC’s James Dickey responded to set the record straight. You can find the published copy of the letter here.

The editorial board, likely based on misinformation provided to it, had criticized UMLC’s data request on behalf of United Patriots for Accountability because of the large amount of data pulled in by the request. The editorial board also lumped in UMLC’s request with another firm’s request to the Rochester School Board, which UMLC had nothing to do with.

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota’s version of FOIA, is essential to good, transparent government in Minnesota. UMLC’s clients across the state have used the Minnesota FOIA law to obtain information about what public school districts are teaching their children using their tax dollars. And with each request made, UMLC makes an effort to work with each school district employee responsible for data requests to make each request as manageable as possible.

But despite UMLC’s effort to make things easier for all parties, UMLC’s clients have been told by public school districts that there are hundreds of thousands–or even millions–of documents in public school document systems with keywords closely aligned with Critical Race Theory, such as “white fragility,” “Ibram Kendi,” “antiracism,” “systemic racism,” “institutional racism” and so on. This finding severely undermines school board officials’ claims across the state that “we don’t teach Critical Race Theory.”

If that were true, these keywords UMLC uses very likely would not turn up so many hits. And as our clients get more access to data, the truth about what Minnesota’s public school districts are teaching will be revealed.

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