Minn. School Policy Criticized for Paying Nonwhite Teachers to Mentor Minority Colleagues

Minn. School Policy Criticized for Paying Nonwhite Teachers to Mentor Minority Colleagues Minn. School Policy Criticized for Paying Nonwhite Teachers to Mentor Minority Colleagues The Exterior Of Luke John Helder's High School, Pine Island High School, in Pine Island, Minn. (Photo By Mike Ekern/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Tuesday, 28 December 2021 02:57 PM

A Minnesota school district is raising eyebrows over a new policy that provides "additional stipends" to nonwhite teachers if they mentor other minority teachers.

The Mankato School board Dec. 7 enacted the policy, which also permits minority teachers to be placed together to "reduce isolation," Alpha News reported.

The measures aim to "increase opportunity for collegial support" for nonwhite teachers, supporters argue — but critics slammed the policy as nothing more than segregation, Alpha News reported.

"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," school board member Erin Roberts said at the meeting, the news outlet reported.

"It's not about trying to throw the few [Black and indigenous people of color] individuals we have into one building. It’s about showing them they aren’t alone."

"It creates global citizens at the end of the day," vice chair Kenneth Reid added, Alpha News reported.

In a Facebook post, state GOP Rep. Jeremy Munson criticized the policy.

"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..

According to Alpha News, the board adopted the new language from a Minnesota statute ordering that "school districts must develop teacher mentoring programs” and that districts may offer “additional stipends as incentives to mentors of color or [those] who are American Indian."

Alpha News included a copy of the new rule.