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Teachers' Union Defends Race-Based Layoff Policy: ‘This Is All Made Up by the Right Wing’

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

Last week, Townhall covered how news broke about a teachers’ union policy that would let go of white teachers first in the event the school district needs to lay off educators. The woke policy threw out the age-old “last-in, first-out” policy surrounding layoffs and shot a hole in the liberal argument about “white privilege.” Many critics slammed the policy for being against the law. However, higher-ups in the teachers union defended the policy and said the criticisms of it are “made up by the right wing.”

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Minneapolis public school district agreed to a policy recently that stipulates that teacher layoffs would be based on race rather than seniority to retain teachers belonging to “underrepresented populations.”

The policy was slammed for being illegal and in violation of the U.S. Constitution. However, union leadership has doubled-down on their stance supporting the policy in several interviews.

“The same people who want to take down teachers unions and blame seniority are now defending it for white people,” said Greta Callahan, president of the teachers unit at the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, according to the Associated Press. “This is all made up by the right wing now. And we could not be more proud of this language.”

The language in the policy, obtained by Minnesota-based outlet Alpha News, states that “starting with the Spring 2023 Budget Tie-Out Cycle, 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,"

In a television appearance, Callahan and MFT Vice President Marcia Howard said that the new policy is “best for students.” 

“Our No. 1 priority was to ensure that our students have safe and stable schools and receive the high quality education they deserve,” Callahan said. “So, this contract language, which, first of all we are extremely proud of achieving, also doesn’t go far enough. We need to support and retain our educators, especially those who are underrepresented.”

In the interview, Howard said that the policy was settled months ago and that the recent coverage of it is “very suspect.”

"Now, it's coming out because some third-rate, off-brand, Breitbart Minnesotan website decided to put it out there, and the MAGA media picked it up," Howard claimed. "And they were waiting for the mainstream media to run with this story. It's a non-story."

“It was language about the event of a layoff,” she added. “And we are nowhere near having layoffs this year.”

This week, Townhall also covered how teachers at Ohio’s largest school district in Columbus went on strike days before the beginning of the school year, forcing their 47,000 students to start the year online. 

The Columbus Education Association union, which represents over 4,000 teachers, nurses and other education professionals, went on strike after rejecting the school board’s final offer in a disagreement over learning and teaching conditions.

Though the students in Columbus were forced to begin the year online, the CEA union's website encouraged supporters of the strike to not "engage in any so-called online synchronous and asynchronous 'learning' pursuant to CCS’ Alternative Opening Plan."

And, a day before CEA’s vote, a union representing about 2,000 employees at the School District of Philadelphia voted to authorize a strike if their demands, fair pay and better training, are not met by Aug. 31. The vote came just over a week before school starts. 

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