In the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. Whether or not the separate institutions (in this case, schools) are actually equal, racial segregation is racial discrimination, and racial discrimination is legally and morally wrong. Unfortunately, it appears that one Minnesota school district has not gotten the memo.
According to Alpha News, and the Libs of TikTok Twitter account, the Mankato School Board unanimously voted to offer stipends to teachers who offer to mentor their nonwhite colleagues. The problem is that the stipends are only available to teachers who also are not white, explicitly excluding white teachers, who may have equally valuable experience and insights, from an opportunity to earn more money.
Even more alarming is that the stipend is being implemented in addition to another program that will physically separate white and “BIPOC” teachers. Mankato intends to begin “placing American Indian educators at sites with other American Indian educators and educators of color at sites with other educators of color.”
To any discerning reader, this is obviously a renewed form of segregation. To the members of the Mankato School Board, segregation is nowhere to be found.
“When you’re one [minority] of a [white] majority it can be very isolating and lonely. To have a support system in place for them is not to segregate them, it is absolutely to support them,” member Erin Roberts proclaimed. “It’s not about trying to throw the few [BIPOC] individuals we have into one building. It’s about showing them they aren’t alone.”
Member Kenneth Reid tried to spin the new policies as a method of connecting minorities with others like them, “supporting diverse populations” instead of segregating. He also connected these values to broader social movements.
“It creates global citizens at the end of the day,” Reid said.
I highlighted the problems with global citizenship in an early November article. To summarize the problem briefly, global citizenship is a half-baked attempt by teachers unions and international organizations to unravel national identities and supposedly promote peace, love, and equity for all. The reality is much more sinister. To advocates of global citizenship, important qualities like patriotism are “silly” and counterproductive. The fact that global citizenship is now appearing alongside segregationist policies is severely concerning.
While Mankato’s new policies likely run afoul of constitutional muster, they are probably legal in Minnesota. Minnesota law mandates that school districts “develop teacher mentoring programs for teachers new to the profession or district, including teaching residents, teachers of color, teachers who are American Indian, teachers in license shortage areas, teachers with special needs, or experienced teachers in need of peer coaching.” These programs are authorized to, at their discretion, include funding for particular minorities or affinity groups.
Thankfully, the community has not accepted these new changes at face value. State Representative Jeremy Munson, who voted against the Minnesota law in question, slammed Mankato as racist in a Sunday Facebook post.
“Our largest local school district just voted to pay people differently, not on merit, or by the content of their character, but based solely on the color of their skin,” Munson said.
“I voted against [the legislation Mankato’s policy is based on]. I called it racist when we debated it and believe it is wrong, racist, and unconstitutional to pay people more money or less money based solely on the color of their skin,” Munson continued.
In addition, Mankato school board member Darren Wacker, who, like all of his colleagues, voted for the measure, announced his immediate resignation Tuesday. It is unclear to what (if any) extent Wacker’s resignation was related to the fallout surrounding the segregatory policies.
Whether or not Mankato’s policies are eventually struck down, it is clear Minnesota families now have to worry about their public schools jumping into the abyss of social justice. In their attempts to promote equity, Mankato’s school board has shoved white students and teachers to the side, and damaged every student involved. Segregation is wrong — period — and Minnesota families and educators deserve better than vacuous bureaucrats who will unwittingly return us to the 1950s.