Minneapolis Public School recently launched a racially charged policy that declares white teachers, regardless of seniority, will be the first laid off. Teachers of color, on the other hand, or teachers from “underrepresented” groups, will have greater job protections.
This agreement was developed to end a two-week strike under the school district’s “First In, First Out” policy. Within this policy, the last teachers hired, or the teachers with the least experience, would be let go during times of layoffs, or they would be the “first out” the door during budget cuts or other situations that necessitate teacher layoffs.
The “First In, First Out” pertained entirely to seniority, and not at all to race.
The “First In, First Out” policy led to fifty non-white teachers losing their jobs this fall, as they had all been recently hired, which is what prompted the strikes leading to the new arrangement.
Unlike the “First In, First Out” policy, the new arrangement is race-based, as it dismisses seniority in favor of prioritizing “underrepresented” groups. The word “underrepresented” is merely a thin veneer designed to minimize the racist overtones of the policy.
“If excessing a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the site,” the agreement states, “the district shall excess the next least senior teacher, who is not a member of an underrepresented population.”
Teachers may find themselves without a job amid funding cuts, and once funding increases again and jobs reopen once more, the reopened jobs will be prioritized for teachers from “underrepresented” groups.
“The District shall prioritize the recall of a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the district,” the agreement proclaimed.
According to the school district, students need teachers to “look like them” and teachers “who they can relate to,” though the district did not make any specific reference to competence, knowledge, or skills.
“This language gives us the ability to identify and address issues that contribute to disproportionately high turnover of educators of color,” the school district declared pompously.