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EDITORIAL: Minneapolis school district wants to fire teachers based on race

Some racial discrimination is apparently more acceptable than others.

This year, the Minneapolis Public Schools reached an agreement with its teachers union. That’s normally not national news, but the contract contained a provision that drew a lot of attention.

Seniority usually determines union staff reductions. The new contract creates an exception “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,” it reads. There’s a similar provision for instances in which teachers are involuntarily reassigned.

More plainly, if a minority teacher’s position is on the chopping block, his or her job is safe. A white teacher will lose the position instead.

That’s blatant and intentional racial discrimination.

The purpose of this policy is “to remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination by the district,” a preamble to those provisions reads.

In other words, the district and union want to address amorphous “past discrimination” by further engaging in actual racial discrimination. That’s ironic coming from activists who say they seek to eliminate racial discrimination.

It’s also a far cry from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring vision. He once stirred the heart of the nation by appealing to “a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.” He foresaw a nation that would live out its creed that “all men are created equal.” He wanted his children to “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The provision in the Minneapolis union contract is not only morally offensive, it’s illegal. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from firing or otherwise discriminating against an employee based on race.

But this provision is the natural outgrowth of the critical-race-theory worldview that has infested many major institutions. CRT contends that any racial disparity is the result of racism — even when laws expressly prohibit racism. In those cases, adherents contend the system itself is racist.

Disparities are inevitable because race isn’t the only factor that influences human outcomes in a free country. Also, individuals have agency. They aren’t widgets whom government planners can direct into certain career fields — based on their skin color, no less.

A more rational approach to staff reductions would be to allow managers to make decisions based on performance and competence regardless of seniority. But acknowledging disparities in talent — through pay or other means — runs counter to organized labor’s efforts to protect and coddle underperformers.

Instead, we get outlandishly discriminatory policies in the name of “equity.” It’s 2022, after all.

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