Minnesota Public Schools (MPS) is instituting a brand spanking new racist policy dictating how layoffs will be conducted. It recently struck a deal with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) back in March to stop a 14-day teacher strike, and the entities came to an agreement that has already caused controversy.
The new contract, which was obtained by Alpha News, “stipulates that white teachers will be laid off or reassigned before ‘educators of color’ in the event Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) needs to reduce staff.”
Yes, you read that right. After this policy takes effect, if the district needs to downsize, it will be white teachers who get the ax first. One of the proposals included in the contract addressed “educators of color protections,” which dictate that if a non-white teacher is subject to being laid off, MPS has to instead lay off a white teacher with the “next least” seniority.
“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,” the agreement states.
According to the agreement, non-white teachers “’may be exempted from district-wide layoff[s] outside seniority order,” and will also be given priority during reinstatement.
Additionally, the contract states that teachers working at “racially isolated schools…with the greatest concentration of poverty,” will be shielded from layoffs as well.
The purpose of this policy is ostensibly to remedy the district’s past issues with racial discrimination.
“Past discrimination by the District 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,” the contract explains.
Hans Bader, a constitutional lawyer, wrote an op-ed in which he argues that this policy violates the Constitution. He wrote:
It is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. When it comes to termination (as opposed to hiring or promotion under an affirmative-action plan), an employer can’t racially discriminate even against whites. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1996 that an school district can’t consider race even as a tie-breaker, in deciding who to lay off, even to promote diversity, because that (a) unduly trammels the white teacher’s rights — even affirmative action plans are supposed to be mild and not unduly trammel someone’s rights, and getting fired as opposed to being denied a promotion unduly trammels someone’s rights — and (b) putting that aside, the school district couldn’t consider race to promote diversity when black people weren’t seriously underrepresented in its workforce as a whole. That ruling was Taxman v. Board of Education of Piscataway, 91 F.3d 1547 (3d Cir. 1996).
Nevertheless, the teachers union is doubling down on its racist policy. Edward Barlow, who sits on the MFT’s executive board, told the Star Tribune that the measure could be “a national model” and that it is “a huge move forward for the retention of teachers of color.”
This policy will almost certainly be challenged in court. It appears to be a clear violation of civil rights law. Unfortunately, this is part of a trend of discriminatory conduct on the part of school districts. Many schools have instituted “racial affinity groups” that specifically divide students by race. Even New York Mayor Eric Adams has come under fire for requesting photos of applicants seeking positions in the city in order to promote diversity.
It is noteworthy that these individuals feel so comfortable brazenly violating civil rights law. Perhaps they believe nobody will challenge them. But Parents Defending Education, a parental rights advocacy group, has already launched multiple successful lawsuits against districts employing the racial affinity groups, so these folks might be out over their skis. When it comes to these types of abuses, exposure is critical, but the legal system is the most potent weapon against those using woke discrimination practices under the guise of promoting equity. Hopefully, MPS will see this challenged in court swiftly.