Minneapolis School District Defends Racist Policy
Minneapolis School District Defends Racist Policy
Anyone with half a brain and a working knowledge of civil rights law in the United States should know that the new teachers’ contract in Minneapolis is a lawsuit waiting to happen. But the school district is now DEFENDING the new contract, claiming it will “remedy” any “past discrimination.”
As Nina covered for us so eloquently before, the Minneapolis Teachers Union (MFT 59) got their new contract after a two-week strike last spring. But it’s only now, on the verge of beginning a new school year, that the details of the contract are being highlighted for the public. And the white teachers would be the first to go under this new contract.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 means this contract is invalid on its face, as it is illegal to consider race in layoffs. But there are plenty of people who are willing to defend this contract, because “fairness” and “equity.” Take for example Kalyn Womack of The Root, who complains that Christopher Rufo even highlighted this to begin with.
It’s doubtful that the agreement was made just to target white teachers. Yet, as expected, the reverse racism accusations came rolling right in. “This is the inevitable endpoint of “equity,” tweeted conservative activist Christopher F. Rufo. Another Twitter user wrote the agreement was “breathtakingly racist and outright unconstitutional.”
To be honest, even the smallest initiatives toward equity are susceptible to receiving the same outrage because undoing the damage of racism is unfathomable to those who don’t acknowledge racism to begin with. Countless studies have found that students of color create greater connections with staff and faculty who look like them and even perform better in their classes.”
In order to see this outcome and account for past discriminatory practices, yes, Black and brown teachers must be prioritized.”
If you can parse out this word salad, Womack’s entire argument is that “it’s okay for us to be racist because there was racism before, so now we’re going to be racist and if you notice, you’re racist.” Everyone is racist now, yaaaaaaaay.
But one columnist’s opinion wouldn’t be interesting… unless the SCHOOL DISTRICT was willing to back her statements up. And they are. The Minneapolis School District is now defending the “lay off white teachers first” clause in the contract, because racism is okay with them so long as it makes the union happy!
The district issued a Tuesday statement after coming under criticism for language in its latest collective-bargaining agreement that requires schools to make a racial exception to the first-in, last-out seniority system on staffing cuts spurred by enrollment declines.”
“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 district said in an email.”
Call me crazy, but you can “recruit and retain” teachers that you want to keep from those “underrepresented groups” without targeting other teachers based SOLELY on their skin color. Imagine this policy in reverse in a less diverse area of the country (say Maine, for example, where only 1.8% of the population is “Black or African American”), and use the exact same argument: “the students perform better for teachers and staff who look like them.” Imagine the national outrage that would follow such a policy. And it would be completely justified, because don’t we want the BEST teacher for the job, regardless of skin color???
But these radical activists don’t hear themselves over their own racism.
Minnesota state Rep. Jeremy Munson wrote 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.”
There is already reportedly a lawsuit in the works over this policy.
Yeah, one of the conservative legal advocacy groups is working on it.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) August 15, 2022
It still boggles the mind that the negotiators for this contract, on both the union side and the school district side, thought that putting this policy IN WRITING would make everything okay. No one wins here. This contract is destined for a lawsuit, which it will lose, and will cost the district and the union money in court to defend it at a minimum. The district makes no money, so that’s taxpayer money being wasted on this obviously illegal provision. The union makes no money, so that’s teachers’ union dues out of their paychecks being wasted to defend this racism. And that’s not even considering the morale problem that the Minneapolis School District has now brought upon itself. It’s no longer enough to be a “good” teacher who “connects with students” and is an effective instructor. You must have the right skin color as well, or you’re going to be first up on that chopping block. Why would a white teacher want to continue teaching in the Minneapolis School District with that sword of Damocles dangling over their heads?
And speaking of the enrollment declines that the school district references… the numbers for the Minneapolis School District, like so many public school districts around the country, are down. Looking at the tables comparing the end of the school year in 2021 to the end of the school year in 2022, there has been a net loss of just over 2000 students. A loss of students means reductions in teaching staff. Are the enrollment trends likely to continue to decrease? If you were a teacher of the wrong color in the Minneapolis School District, would you be looking to leave sooner rather than later for a neighboring (or maybe not-so-neighboring) school district?
And in the end, the students are the ones who suffer most, because not only are they not getting and keeping the best teachers, the kids are learning that racism is perfectly okay with the adults who write the rules.