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Straight from the Mike – Favor Ain’t Fair


Indeed, there are truisms in our society. For me, one such truism has really been exemplified rather recently. I learned it from a dear late friend, Wallace Coopwood. He would opine from time to time during our discussions of current affairs. “Favor just ain’t fair.”

One does not need a Sherlock Holmes sized magnifying glass to see the rank unfairness and disregard of the Minneapolis public school teachers union suggesting that if layoffs become necessary, let it be race base determined. The plan seems to be deficient and concerning on a number of levels. I am not an attorney, but I suspect it could raise legal issues too. Nevertheless, the aspect that caught my attention was the union’s rationale. The willingness of the union to take it upon itself to attempt to right the wrongs of prior, historic discrimination to black students may be a bridge too far. 

In the overall scheme of things, such a remedy is hardly fair, even for a nano second. The other aspect of this outrageous gesture makes no mention of a key word for any education entity today, public or private: Quality. 

I have long held the belief that expectation exceeds racism. The level of one’s teaching prowess does not depend upon the color of the teacher’s skin, but the interest, training, and commitment of the teacher. One does not need to do a deep dive today to see the ‘code red’ state of education. We are talking about a system that has not recovered from the pandemic hiatus. 

It is regrettable that the two most impactful professions on our lives and well being, teachers and police officers, are not compensated for the value they provide and the sacrifices they make to do what they do, day in and day out. 

If the teachers in Minneapolis are fortunate, it will not be necessary for the layoff trigger to be pulled. The projectile that would come forth from the barrel could have lasting, negative impact within the school district. I say that particularly in the hope that it is unlikely such myopic thinking is likely to spread to other school districts in the country. The irony of this warped plan is that it overshadows the real issue for public schools in majority minority school districts throughout the country, which is school choice.

According to Vince Ellison, author of the Iron Triangle, over 80% of Black parents believe in school choice yet the politicians and school unions oppose it. What are the results; Black children almost unanimously attend the worst public schools in America. Furthermore, as one peels back the onion even more, you are likely to find that the children of the policy makers sent their kids to private schools. 

The future of quality education is concerning. The late Colin Powell’s nonprofit America’s Promise reported that only 52% of high school students in urban centers graduate. In cities where the Black populace is extremely high, like Detroit, Cleveland, and Indianapolis, the dropout rate ranges from 65 to 75 per cent. 

It is notable to point out that the Minneapolis school system is 60% Black. Regardless, all the students in the system deserve the best teachers possible irrespective of their skin color. The admissions officer at the college of their choice or the HR Director at the job of their choosing will not likely ask about the race of their teachers. 

Perhaps Jason Riley, a writer for the Wall Street Journal puts it in perspective. In his book titled, Please Stop Helping Us, he writes about how some liberal measures do more harm than good. The Minneapolis Teachers Union proposal may well fit in that category. 

Until next time… 

Michael Murphy


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