Many Republicans and conservative activists are in an uproar after the Minneapolis Public Schools defended its decision to lay off White teachers before minority teachers with less seniority.
The MPS stated that they were enacting this controversial measure in order to remedy “the effects of past discrimination,” according to The Washington Times and the New York Post.
As currently constructed, just 16 percent of the tenured teachers and 27 percent of the probationary teaching ranks are people of color, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The school district said in a statement that it struck the deal with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, headed by president Greta Callahan, because of past racism.
“To remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination, Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers 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,” the district said in an email to The Washington Times.
Minnesota’s Alpha News also reported that minority instructors “may be exempted from district-wide layoff[s] outside seniority order.”
“Starting with the Spring 2023 Budget Tie-Out Cycle, 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.”
This agreement by the school district and teacher’s union has outraged many people in the business, civic and political arenas.
Minnesota State Rep. Jeremy Munson railed against the agreement on his Facebook page:
“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. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but racist employment contracts have no place in our society.”
Heritage Foundation fellow Jonathan Butcher denounced the decision as disingenuous by the district and the union.
“This is, I think, political posturing,” he said, according to the New York Post. “It is not dealing with the most important issue which is helping students right now with math and reading.”