Skip To Content

This letter went out to Owatonna, Mankato, New Ulm, Maple River, Albert Lea, Rochester, and Winona School Board Members December 6th, 2021

Most school boards will get suggested personnel grant funded policy changes, which are being suggested from  Minnesota State Statute 122a.70.   I am the most concerned about the following parts of Minnesota State Statute 122a.70,  being considered:

Minnesota state Statute 122A.70, In Mankato Area Public Schools this is Policy number 466

Link here:
(2) financial support for professional learning community affinity groups across schools within and between districts for teachers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to come together throughout the school year. For purposes of this section, “affinity groups” are groups of educators who share a common racial or ethnic identity in society as persons of color or who are American Indian;

(c) . . . Retention strategies may include providing financial incentives for teachers of color and teachers who are American Indian to work in the school or district for at least five years and placing American Indian educators at sites with other American Indian educators and educators of color at sites with other educators of color to reduce isolation and increase opportunity for collegial support.

I understand the desire for the school district to address issues of isolation and collegial support, but assuming that placing teachers together who share the same group identity will address that issue is a race-reductionist view of teachers, who deserve to be valued for their character.

There is value in placing people who look and think differently into collaborative groups, which will create invaluable learning experiences.  Additionally, these policies have the potential of Violating Title VII,  Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

As many of our schools become more violent, now is the time to bring staff and students together.  We need to use state funding and all our resources to provide the necessary mental health and educational opportunities that our students and teachers deserve.  Passing such policies is counter productive to our goals and further discriminates and hurts our education professionals.

Thanks Elizabeth Hanke

Southern Minnesota Chapter Leader for the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR)

Laws I Quoted:

 Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, – All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Title VII, the ADEA, and the ADA prohibit compensation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Unlike the EPA, there is no requirement under Title VII, the ADEA, or the ADA that the jobs must be substantially equal.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title VI states that: