Earlier this month, the Mankato School Board in Minnesota decided it would be handing out extra pay to teachers who decide to become mentors to other teachers. The only stipulation to get the extra funds is to be a non-white teacher mentoring a non-white teacher. 

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While shocking, it should be noted that the school board voted unanimously to reward “additional stipends” to non-white teachers who become mentors. Not only that, but according to Alpha News, the new policy will also be “placing American Indian educators at sites with other American Indian educators and educators of color at sites with other educators of color.”

The school board claims the decision to pass the policy was to “increase opportunity for collegial support” for teachers who are non-white.

The policy reads, “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.”

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Even before the final vote, the school board promised that assigning teachers different work areas based on race was not segregation. Board member Erin Roberts noted, “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. My biggest fear is that we are going to lose talent because of the feeling of being unsupported by those within our district.”

She added, “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.”

State Rep. Jeremy Munson (R) labeled the new policy as racist. “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,” he said. “This is allowed and encouraged under a revision to Minnesota state Statute 122A.70. I voted against this legislation. 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.”

Back in October, the same school district was the center of controversy as Chairwoman Jodi Sapp wouldn’t allow parents to speak without announcing where they live first. 

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This piece was written by Zach Heilman on December 28, 2021. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.

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