Yesterday, in a coordinated display of racist cowardice, the Minneapolis School District and School Board fired 3 educators of color from Hmong International Academy (HIA). These very same educators were rehired this April, after the Board determined that they had been wrongly fired for "advocating for students and racism".
Did these educators do something wrong in the meantime? No. The District has instead manufactured reasons for firing them, from an ‘improvement plan’ based on evidence already thrown out by a Board Motion, to MCA test scores of students in special education some of which dramatically improved, to a bad evaluation from a Principal who didn’t physically enter the room to determine things were wrong in their classroom. This isn’t about the Black and Hmong educators fired - it is about maintaining the racist status quo in the Minneapolis Public Schools.
More disturbingly, fired educators were falsely told that the "union knew about this". The union was in fact deceived, told by three MPS higher ups including the head of HR that the rehired teachers were set to continue next year. In public comment at the Board meeting, a disgusted Michelle Weiss, President of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, expressed her anger and disappointment at the District's blatant, deceitful, and racist actions.
School Board Members too, were kept in the dark about the firings until the hour before the motion passed the School Board, informed during the non-public Executive Session, with the possible exception of Board Member Felder who was out of town and skyped into the meeting. Board Members Siad Ali and Nelson Inz did put forward a motion to remove numbers 3, 4, and 5, from the Consent Agenda, which would have delayed their firings. The names of these numbers however were not visible to the public, nor did they say why they were making the motion, or who was impacted by it. The Board voted the amendment down without discussion. Even if one assumes good intentions, the School Board were cowards, more afraid of the District then of injustice.
The District and Board think they’ve seen the end of this, while claiming to be advocates for racial equity and workers rights. They think that they can give lip service to fighting racism, but when supporting staff of color causes friction with District or administrators, they jump ship to avoid friction. While they publicly support staff, behind closed doors they help administration create a climate of fear.
It is clear that MPS can take actions regardless of policy, protocol, morality, or communicating what is happening to the public. We expect them to use their power to make good on their promises to fight systemic racism and inequity in MPS.
We demand they rehire the 3 educators from HIA immediately - now twice fired and once rehired in two months - and we ask that you join us in this demand. Unlike the MPS school board, we refuse to let a racist status quo to continue on our watch.
Join us in taking action:
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Contact the Superintendent and Board immediately:
Ed Graff (Superintendent): MPSSup@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.668.0200
Rebecca.Gagnon@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.382.1386
Kim.Ellison@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.418.3657
Jenny.Arneson@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.382.0734
Bob.Walser@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.757.6427
KerryJo.Felder@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.757.6470
Siad.Ali@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.206.5204
Nelson.Inz@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.206.5284
Ira.Jourdain@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.757.6469
Don.Samuels@mpls.k12.mn.us | 612.206.5261
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