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Kersten’s Arabic-school source: more to the story

What Katherine Kersten didn’t tell you about her source in the Strib columnist’s latest attack on an Arabic charter school.

Conservative Strib columnist Katherine Kersten kicked up a storm last week in her campaign against an Inver Grove Heights Arabic charter school, Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA). Kersten claims the public school engages in questionable Muslim religious practices. The school hasn’t allowed her to visit, but Kersten found an eyewitness: a substitute teacher who confirmed many of the allegations. State officials have since said they will increase inspections and will contact federal officials about the school’s sponsors.

One data point Kersten omitted: the substitute, Amanda Getz, is a Republican political and education activist. As Getz wrote two years ago, the self-described conservative has a special interest in “education reform and work to improve our country’s public schools.”

Does that obliterate Getz’s credibility? No; it might even enhance it in some eyes. But Getz was not some naïf walking into a charter school; it’s unlikely the politically active conservative teacher was ignorant of Kersten’s longstanding anti-TIZA campaign when she accepted the assignment. Getz’s affiliations may have colored her views, and Strib readers deserved to know about it.

(Hat tip to Carla Bates, who originally posted the Getz link on the Minneapolis Public Schools Parents Forum. Bates is a DFL candidate for the Minneapolis School Board.)