Education Minnesota (EM) is a labor union which claims to represent nearly 90,000 teachers in the state of Minnesota. It also promotes left-progressive education policies. All EM members also automatically become members of the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO. 
At its annual conference in October 2020, EM featured far-left activist and University of Georgia professor Bettina Love, the board chair of the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN) as the keynote speaker. The ATN is a radical activist organization which promotes teaching critical race theory in schools, opposes school disciplinary measures, and claims that white racial identity is inherently oppressive towards minority groups. 
In August 2021, the Minnesota public school system and many of its teachers came under criticism by parents opposed to the promotion of critical race theory. Parents requested to review weekly lesson plans, textbooks, websites, and other teaching materials. They also requested to see which teachers had gone through critical race theory training. In response, EM president Denise Specht called the parents’ efforts “an attack on public education” and “a way to ultimately privatize public education.” Specht claimed that the parents’ use of school transparency policies was “really undermining the trust of public schools.” 
Involvement in State Politics
Education Minnesota endorses candidates for local and state office who promise to push for left-progressive education policies. The organization’s candidate survey includes numerous questions related to increasing government involvement in education, implementing race-based policies in schools, and increasing the power of teachers’ unions. For example, the survey asks candidates if they oppose the state offering tax credits to families who choose private schools, and if they support a moratorium on new charter schools in the state until unspecified “policy changes” are implemented. The survey also asks candidates if they support using taxpayer funds on initiatives to increase the number of minority teachers, supposedly because this “better reflects the students in the classroom,” as well as how they will “talk about race and immigration” in their campaign. Regarding what the survey refers to as “union rights,” candidates are asked to confirm whether they would oppose “any legislation or constitutional amendments” that may reduce the political influence of teachers’ unions. The survey is not limited to topics related to education: for example, it asks candidates if they support raising taxes on the wealthy, as well as other measures to raise revenue for the state. 
In September 2021, Education Minnesota endorsed the Biden administration’s executive action mandating vaccines for federal employees, as well as businesses and organizations with more than 100 employees. EM president Denise Specht also released a statement supporting a requirement that “every educator, with very few exceptions, should be vaccinated” and calling on school districts to implement vaccination policies, arguing that “we don’t need to wait for the federal government.” 
EM has endorsed numerous restrictions on student and teacher activity following the reopening of schools in the state, citing the pandemic. The organization encourages mandatory mask wearing for all teachers, staff, and students, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated. EM also called for every student age 12 and above to get the coronavirus vaccine. 
In its 2018-2019 fiscal year, Education Minnesota received close to $36 million in total revenue. The organization paid its president Denise Specht an annual salary of more than $190,000, its vice president Paul Mueller more than $160,000, and its secretary-treasurer more than $200,000.