Labor Union

Education Minnesota

Education Minnesota logo (link)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2019):

Revenue: $35,849,336
Expenses: $34,184,433
Assets: $61,183,164






Denise Specht

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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. 1

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. 2

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.” 3

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. 4

COVID-19 Pandemic

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.” 5

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. 6


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. 7


  1. About Our Union. Education Minnesota. Accessed September 10, 2021.
  2. “2020 MEA conference goes virtual; features sessions on racial equity, mental health, distance learning.” Education Minnesota. October 13, 2020. Accessed September 20, 2021.
  3. Yasmine Askari. “After a summer of controversy, some Minnesota teachers are anxious about the return of the school year.” MinnPost. August 16, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2021.
  4. “Education Minnesota candidate questionnaire.” Education Minnesota. Accessed September 20, 2021.
  5. “Education Minnesota expects federal vaccine mandates to affect most Minnesota schools, but questions remain.” Education Minnesota. September 10, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2021.
  6. “FAQ: Vaccines for Educators.” Education Minnesota. September 16, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2021.
  7. Education Minnesota 2019 Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Accessed September 20, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 2001

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Aug Form 990 $35,849,336 $34,184,433 $61,183,164 $55,910,160 Y $0 $34,777,975 $760,165 $1,830,636 PDF
    2018 Aug Form 990 $36,947,598 $35,608,879 $58,223,382 $30,231,218 Y $0 $36,100,622 $438,058 $1,869,447 PDF
    2017 Aug Form 990 $35,549,434 $35,031,935 $55,096,295 $39,699,569 Y $0 $34,885,535 $229,766 $1,925,751 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $33,784,337 $33,112,658 $53,895,067 $49,650,783 Y $0 $33,143,666 $172,706 $1,815,895
    2015 Aug Form 990 $32,993,962 $40,416,364 $50,143,643 $33,967,822 Y $0 $32,390,378 $151,532 $1,407,483 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $31,305,205 $28,131,277 $47,302,663 $17,597,565 Y $0 $30,724,762 $155,439 $1,457,030 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $30,512,539 $28,907,141 $43,509,347 $17,658,526 Y $0 $29,913,848 $190,965 $1,497,258 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $29,930,783 $26,386,099 $42,643,923 $29,405,753 Y $0 $29,261,891 $218,785 $1,223,765 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $30,149,371 $28,496,175 $39,122,339 $18,811,602 Y $0 $29,513,420 $213,551 $1,170,671 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Education Minnesota

    SAINT PAUL, MN 55103-2119