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New Contract Says White Teachers Get Laid Off Before Minority Teachers

Minneapolis , MN – A recently-signed contract between Minneapolis Public Schools (MPD) and the teachers’ union requires the school district to lay off white teachers before minorities, regardless of seniority.

The stipulation was part of the new collective bargaining agreement between MPS and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) that brought a two-week strike to an end last spring, ABC News reported.

The agreement read that “if excessing a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the site, the district shall excess the next least senior teacher, who is not a member of an underrepresented population.”

Excessing teachers is the process used to lay off staff at a particular school, according to FOX News.

The agreement also stipulated that the rehiring process should work in the same way.

It dictated that when teachers are reinstated, “the District shall prioritize the recall of a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the district,” FOX News reported.

The purpose of the policy is to make up for “past discrimination” by the school district that “disproportionately impacted the hiring of underrepresented teachers in the District, as compared to the relevant labor market and the community, and resulted in a lack of diversity of teachers,” according to the agreement.

The teachers’ union released a statement that said the new policy would bring the district “closer to safe and stable schools,” FOX News reported.

“Students need educators who look like them and who they can relate to,” the document read. “This language gives us the ability to identify and address issues that contribute to disproportionately high turnover of educators of color.”

Edward Barlow, a member of MFT’s executive board, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the agreement could become a “national model” for finding ways to retain teachers of color.

The policies putting minority teachers over white teachers will be in effect until the diversity of teachers in the district matches that of the community and labor market, FOX News reported.

“To remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination, Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) mutually agreed to contract language that aims to support the recruitment and retention of teachers from underrepresented groups as compared to the labor market and to the community served by the school district,” an MPS spokesperson explained.

The move was especially significant given that MPS was expected to lay off 50 minority teachers this fall, ABC News reported.

The agreement included some other “anti-racist” and “anti-bias” stipulations, including the creation of an “Anti-Bias Anti-Racist Staff Development and Advisory Council” to “focus on reducing inequitable practices and behaviors in our learning places and spaces as well as supporting educators, specifically educators of color, in navigating and disrupting our district as a predominantly white institution.”

Critics have called the new policy “racism in action” and a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Daily Mail reported.

Constitutional law expert Hans Bader said the “race-based layoff provision” violated portions of the Civil Rights Act in an editorial for Liberty Unyielding.

“When it comes to termination an employer can’t racially discriminate even against whites,” Bader wrote. “The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1996 that a school district can’t consider race even as a tie-breaker, in deciding who to lay off, even to promote diversity.”

Minnesota State Representative Jeremy Munson wrote on Facebook that he thought the union’s deal was racist, the Daily Mail reported.

“The Minneapolis teachers Union has taken a racist approach and agreed to protect your job based on your skin color, over your job performance or seniority,” Munson wrote. “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but racist employment contracts have no place in our society.”

A number of groups were expected to file lawsuits challenging the MPS agreement with the teachers’ union, the Daily Mail reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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