A new contract for teachers in Minneapolis public schools could see non-White teachers given even greater preferences over White teachers, including automatic seniority status that would make White teachers more likely to be fired first.
According to the New York Post, the new labor agreement between the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Minneapolis Public Schools aims to protect “underrepresented populations,” and to prevent the possibility of there being too many White teachers in the city. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported back in June that approximately 60 percent of Minneapolis students are non-White, while only 16 percent of teachers in the city’s district are non-White, as are 27 percent of its probationary teachers.
Under the new agreement, non-White teachers “may be exempted from district-wide layoff[s] outside seniority order,” as reported by local news outlet Alpha News, which first reported excerpts from the new contract on Sunday.
“Starting with the Spring 2023 Budget Tie-Out Cycle,” the contract continues, “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.”
A spokesperson for the district said that the district and the union had “mutually agreed” on the terms of the contract, and will be moving forward with its implementation.
Edward Barlow, an executive board member of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, praised the deal as a “huge move forward for the retention of teachers of color.”
“It can be a national model,” Barlow added, “and schools in other states are looking to emulate what we did.”
The race-based conditions of the contract have already come under fire for being unconstitutional, with the Upper Midwest Law Center vowing to oppose it in a statement to Alpha News.
“The [collective bargaining agreement] … openly discriminates against White teachers based only on the color of their skin, and not their seniority or merit,” said James Dickey, senior trial counsel at UMLC. “Minneapolis teachers and taxpayers who oppose government-sponsored racism like this should stand up against it.”