First, it was having the FBI investigate parents concerned with their children’s school curriculum. Now, the latest tactic involves trying to extort them for nearly a million dollars.
A group of parents whose children attend school in the Rochester Public School District in Minnesota hired a law firm to investigate what the schools are teaching their children. The law firm Mohrman, Kaardal, and Erickson filed a Government Data Practices Act Request on behalf of a parents organization known as “Equality in Education.” The request was sent to the school district’s interim superintendent, Dr. Kent Pekel.
Equality in Education requested information pertaining to the school district’s curriculum. The group wanted to know if “its administration, its component schools, its employees, consultants or others that administer, teach students, develop curriculum, instruct staff, or provide conference or seminars for teachers since January 1, 2020 regarding equity and social justice topics often referred to as Critical Race Theory.” The groups was told it would require 13,478 hours to “search for, retrieve, and make copies of the data.”
The cost for this? A whopping $901,121.15. For those without a calculator handy, 13,478 hours converts to 561 days.
Wenyuan Wu, executive director at Californians for Equal Rights, was one of the first to break this story by tweeting a redacted copy of the letter from the Rochester Public School District.
“Serious ask: is it normal for a Minnesota school district to ask $901k for a public records request on its CRT, DEI, SEL... practices?” Wu tweeted.
Wu has spent a considerable amount of time battling with school districts in California and CRT. She felt the request from the Rochester Public School District was exploitative.
“The government and publicly funded schools have no business of soliciting exorbitant fees from concerned stakeholders to obtain information that should have been available in the first place,” Wu told me. “Instead of negotiating with the requester on rational grounds, such as necessary tailoring and fine-tuning of the requests, Rochester Public Schools threw a wild number in an attempt to chill public inquiries and demands for transparency and access.”
The fact a school district would require nearly a million dollars and 561 days to provide course materials is a sham. If the school district is so confident their curriculum doesn't include critical race theory, why are they trying so hard to hide it?