Minneapolis Public Schools, in negotiation with the district’s teachers union, has announced that their new lay-off policy moving forward will be to fire white teachers before teachers of color.
In a statement, the school district claimed the new policy was designed to “remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination.”
“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,” the statement read.
Under this updated “contract language,” considerations of seniority and experience during a period of layoffs will instead be replaced by considerations of race, with an emphasis on firing white teachers before their minority colleagues.
Minneapolis teachers union agreement stipulates White teachers be laid off first, regardless of seniority https://t.co/pOtTrrQ9R1
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 15, 2022
While many have been quick to criticize the new policy, others, including the teachers union that worked to negotiate it, have defended the measure as a necessary one.
In an interview, Greta Callahan, president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT), said she and her colleagues were “extremely proud” of the race-based layoff policy, but that even it didn’t do enough to address their concerns.
“This contract language was something that we are, first of all, extremely proud of for achieving, but it also doesn’t go far enough,” Callahan said. “We need to support and retain our educators, especially those who are underrepresented, and this language does one tiny, minuscule step towards that but doesn’t solve the real crisis we’re in right now.”
Teachers and school district officials have said they hope to prevent their teaching staff from skewing even more toward an overwhelmingly white population. Currently, around 16% of the district’s tenured teachers and 27% of its probationary teachers are people of color.
In the interview, MFT vice president Marcia Howard said the news coverage about the new policy was a “non-story” that had been overblown by “MAGA media.”
“We voted on this, the district and the union agreed upon this, and now it’s coming out because some Minnesotan website decided to put it out there and the MAGA media picked it up and they were waiting for mainstream media to run with this story,” she said. “It’s a non-story.”