The Minneapolis teachers union defended a policy that calls for laying off white teachers first, saying it “doesn’t go far enough.”
At the conclusion of a three-week teachers strike in March, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Minneapolis Public Schools agreed to contract language that provides protections for “educators of color.”
As Alpha News first reported earlier this month, the new collective bargaining agreement states that if a non-white teacher is subject to excess, MPS must excess a white teacher with the “next least” seniority.
The agreement adds that non-white teachers, as well as those working in various programs, “may be exempted from district-wide layoff[s] outside seniority order.” The agreement also prioritizes the reinstatement of teachers from “underrepresented populations” over white teachers.
“So this contract language was something that, first of all, we are extremely proud of for achieving but it also doesn’t go far enough. We need to support and retain our educators, especially those who are underrepresented, and this language does one tiny, miniscule step towards that but doesn’t solve the real crisis we’re in,” Minneapolis Federation of Teachers President Greta Callahan told Good Morning America Friday.
Minneapolis Federation of Teachers President Greta Callahan and Vice President Marcia Howard address the controversy over prioritizing the retention of teachers of color over those with seniority.#GMA3 pic.twitter.com/FFeUpfuoIx
— GMA3: What You Need To Know (@ABCGMA3) August 19, 2022
Vice President Marcia Howard then claimed the “timing” of the Alpha News report was “very suspect.”
“This is the language that we put in that we went out and marched for. We voted on this. The district and the union agreed upon this and now it’s coming out because some third-rate, off-brand Breitbart Minnesotan website decided to put it out there. The MAGA media picked it up and they were waiting for mainstream media to run with this story. It’s a non-story. It was language about the event of a layoff and we are nowhere near having layoffs this year. We’re down like 250 teachers,” she said.
Attorney James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center told Alpha News the contract language will lead to an “inevitable lawsuit” if the district refuses to back down.