The prototypical Minnesota grassroots political action organization, EdWatch, was disbanded last year due to the departure of its founders to new positions. A "new" group, Education Liberty Watch, has taken its place.
I use quotation marks around the word "new" because Education Liberty Watch is more of a child of EdWatch than a brand new administration. The group's president, Dr. Karen Effrem, was a key member of the EdWatch leadership and advocacy, a well-known face at the Capitol. Dave Jones was an EdWatch board member. Constitutional attorney Marj Holsten and Polly Sorcan are long-time EdWatch volunteers. Gubernatorial primary candidate, conservative activist, and radio personality Sue Jeffers and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Republican Liberty Caucus Minnesota Greg O'Connor round out the new board.
Expect continuity of principle: the new group has adopted the old group's motto, "Education for a FREE Nation," and some observers wondered why they did not simply retain the EdWatch name and organizational structure. The group's face to the world, its web site, has a streamlined look and blog-like organization that should facilitate finding specific information. Although new, it seems like it could be kept more up-to-date than the old EdWatch site. The front page today details Effrem's urgent media and legislative testimony schedule in both houses and several radio shows.
With the state academic standards in social studies under revision, an education finance omnibus bill in committee, a multibillion-dollar budget deficit to be closed, and union bargaining rights debated on the nightly news, it is good to know that academic freedom and educational liberty again has a steadfast guardian in Minnesota.