An agreement between the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers union and the school district states that White teachers will be laid off before teachers of color, regardless of their seniority.
The agreement, which was reached to end a two-week teacher strike last spring, says that starting this school year, “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.”
Excessing teachers is the process by which staff are reduced at a particular school due to a drop in enrollment, funding or other reasons.
The agreement further goes on to say that when reinstating teachers, “the District shall prioritize the recall of a teacher who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the district.”
According to the agreement, the purpose of the policies is to solve for “past discrimination” by the district, which the agreement said “disproportionately impacted the hiring of underrepresented teachers in the District, as compared to the relevant labor market and the community, and resulted in a lack of diversity of teachers.”
According to the Star Tribune, 50 teachers of color will be losing their positions this fall due to cuts tied to enrollment losses.
In a summary of the agreement, the union says the policies will move the district “closer to safe and stable schools.”
“Students need educators who look like them and who they can relate to,” the document says. “This language gives us the ability to identify and address issues that contribute to disproportionately high turnover of educators of color.”
Edward Barlow, a band teacher and member of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers executive board, told the Star Tribune that the agreement can be a “national model” for finding ways to retain teachers of color.