Right-wing conservatives are outraged at a new agreement between Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) and a local teachers union that could result in white teachers being laid off before teachers of color.
According to ABC 4 News, as a part of a collective bargaining agreement between the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and MPS, the school district will restructure the recruiting and retainment of educators of color. In the past teacher layoffs or relocations were solely based on seniority. The new agreement will allow schools to bypass previous protocol and lay off senior staff members if a teacher of color would have been laid off, prioritizing teachers that are members of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the District. The agreement also pertains to recalling, or bringing back, teachers who may have already been laid off.
“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,” a spokesperson for Minneapolis Public Schools said in a statement.
Conservatives, right-wing news pundits, and some teachers are calling the deal racist and unconstitutional.
Republican representative to the Minnesota House of Representatives Jeremy Munson took to his Facebook page to blast the agreement alleging the teachers union was ‘taking a racist approach.’
“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,” said Munson.
“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but racist employment contracts have no place in our society.”
Sean Hannity didn’t hesitate to call the deal blatantly racist and unlawful. He also claimed that it institutionalized racism while discussing the agreement with Fox News contributors Leo Terrell and Clay Travis.
It is easy to see this as an attack on white teachers if that’s what you want it to be. But the fact of the matter is, it’s not that simple of a situation. The majority of the senior teachers in Minneapolis are white. Layoffs in the past have disproportionally affected teachers of color. If they are never prioritized, how can historical discriminatory practices ever be remedied?
This isn’t about firing white teachers over Black ones. This is about trying to shift a system that has never prioritized teachers of color. Screaming reverse racism every time Black folks try to make some gains in this country is just plain frustrating.