Minneapolis school district officials are defending their deal with the teachers' union to lay off white educators ahead of their less-senior minority peers as the policy faces backlash from GOP politicians and conservative activists.
On Tuesday (August 16), Minneapolis Public Schools released a statement in defense of their controversial deal with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, led by president Greta Callahan, per the Washington Times.
“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,” Minneapolis Public Schools said in an email.
Per the deal between the school district and teachers' union, minority teachers “may be exempted from district-wide layoff[s] outside seniority order,” according to Alpha News.
Reports say the labor contract was created to protect “underrepresented populations” and to preserve diversity among district staff.
"Starting with the Spring 2023 Budget Tie-Out Cycle, 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,” the contract reportedly reads in part.
The agreement was reached earlier this year amid a two-week teachers' strike, but is now being called "illegal" and "unconstitutional" by its critics.
"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," Minnesota state Rep. Jeremy Munson wrote on Facebook. "I don’t know who needs to hear this, but racist employment contracts have no place in our society.”
James Dickey, senior trial counsel at the Upper Midwest Law Center, told Alpha News that the contract “openly discriminates against white teachers based only on the color of their skin, and not their seniority or merit.”
“This is another example of why government unions should be eliminated,” Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted, condemning the agreement as racist and illegal.