Race, Ethnicity Will Be Considered In Minneapolis Teacher Layoffs

Administrators at Minneapolis Public Schools will take racial and cultural diversity into account, among other things, when deciding which teachers should be let go in the future.

The new policy is a provision of the contract that the district and the Minneapolis Teachers Federation reached during the two-week strike by educators last spring.

According to the district, it has been difficult to hire staff members who match the backgrounds of its kids.

Crystina Lugo-Beach, the district’s media relations coordinator, wrote in an email to Patch that the Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) “mutually agreed to contract language that seeks 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” in order to “remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination.”

Other school districts throughout the nation could implement the new rule in an effort to increase staff diversity among students.

According to Edward Barlow, the band instructor at Anwatin Middle School, “It may be a national model, and schools in other states are trying to mimic what we achieved.”

“It’s still a significant step forward for the retention of teachers of color,” the author says, “even though it doesn’t achieve all we intended it to do.”

The policy will go into effect at a time when opinions among parents, educators, and administrators throughout the country are still divided on how to deal with racial and educational inequity.

The district’s new policy has drawn criticism from some who claim it violates the Civil Rights Act and may possibly be unconstitutional.

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