Minneapolis teachers contract sparks fury after stating white educators are to be fired ahead of black educators irrespective of seniority or tenure.
Isn’t it still discrimination irrespective of the colors of the educators?
Disconcert has come to the fore after revelations that Minneapolis public school teachers of color will have additional job protections under a new contract that would allow them to keep their jobs in favor of white instructors with more seniority.
The labor agreement which is slated to begin in Spring, 2023, is intended to protect ‘underrepresented populations’ and keep the district’s predominantly white staff from becoming more homogenous according to union leaders.
The stipulation is part of a new agreement hatched out between the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Minneapolis Public Schools following the ending of a two-week long teachers’ strike in March.
About 60% of Minneapolis students are non-white compared to 16% of the district’s tenured teachers and 27% of its probationary teachers, according to a June Minneapolis Star Tribune report.
Addressing past discriminations
The agreement states that teachers of color ‘may be exempted from district-wide layoff[s] outside seniority order,’ according to Minnesota outlet Alpha News, which published language from the contract Sunday.
‘Starting with the Spring 2023 Budget Tie-Out Cycle, if excessing [reducing] 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,’ the agreement reportedly read.
The agreement further goes on to say that when reinstating teachers, ‘the District shall prioritize the recall of a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the district.’
The agreement stated that ‘past discrimination’ had made the district’s teaching staff ‘underrepresented’ to the community ‘and resulted in a lack of diversity of teachers’.
According to the Star Tribune, 50 teachers of color will be losing their positions this fall due to cuts tied to enrollment losses.
In a summary of the agreement, the union says the policies will move the district ‘closer to safe and stable schools.’
‘Students need educators who look like them and who they can relate to,’ the document says. ‘This language gives us the ability to identify and address issues that contribute to disproportionately high turnover of educators of color.’
The Minneapolis Teachers Union contract calls for layoffs of white teachers first.
A violation of the Civil Rights Act, local laws, and the Constitutional Equal Rights protection.
What sad, sorry excuse for a legislator came up with this?
— Corey Gibson (@CoreyGibson) August 15, 2022
A representative of the Upper Midwest Law Center told Alpha News the agreement was ‘unconstitutional.’
‘The [collective bargaining agreement] … openly discriminates against white teachers based only on the color of their skin, and not their seniority or merit,’ James Dickey, senior trial counsel at UMLC reportedly said.
‘Minneapolis teachers and taxpayers who oppose government-sponsored racism like this should stand up against it.’
The contract was one of the first of its kind in the nation, and a ‘huge move forward for the retention of teachers of color,’ union leaders told The Star.
‘It can be a national model, and schools in other states are looking to emulate what we did,’ said Edward Barlow, a member of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers executive board.
The more than four dozen teachers slated to lose their jobs this fall largely due to enrollment declines would not be impacted by the affirmative action measure, the report stated.