Amid enrollment and funding reductions in the crime-ravaged region, Minneapolis Public Schools plan to lay off white teachers before any teachers of color under a new union agreement reached this past spring.
The agreement to end a two-week teacher strike exempts teachers from "underrepresented" populations from seniority-based layoffs, and it goes into effect in spring 2023.
MPS had a last-in, first-out policy that led to 50 non-white teachers losing their jobs this fall, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers fought against that policy, and now non-white teachers who were most recently hired will be retained in lieu of white teachers with more seniority, ABC News-4 reported Monday.
"If excessing 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 agreement requires.
Teachers are usually "excessed" at schools due to enrollment drops or lack of funding. When enrollment or funding returns, there is a reinstatement policy that will favor non-white teachers over their white colleagues, according to the report.
"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 stated.
The stipulation was put into the agreement to end "discrimination" and "lack of diversity" by MPS.
"Students need educators who look like them and who they can relate to," the agreement stated. "This language gives us the ability to identify and address issues that contribute to disproportionately high turnover of educators of color."
Edward Barlow, a member of the teachers union's executive board, calls the agreement a potential "national model."
"It can be a national model, and schools in other states are looking to emulate what we did," he told the Star Tribune. "Even though it doesn't do everything that we wanted it to do, it's still a huge move forward for the retention of teachers of color."
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