District drops preference for “non-Christian” teachers

When hiring teachers, “special consideration shall be given to women and/or minority defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith,” reads the teachers’ union contract in Ferndale, Michigan. Earlier in the contract, however, a clause bans discrimination based on religion, notes Michigan Capitol Confidential.
The “non-Christian” language is “antiquated” and will be deleted, said a spokeswoman for Ferndale Public Schools. “The district does not discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion or other related issues,” she said.

Apparently, the language was added in the late ’70s. My guess is that someone noticed an increase in Muslim students and thought it would be nice to hire some Muslim teachers. But are Asian-American teachers underrepresented relative to the number of Asian-American students? I doubt it. And I’m sure there are plenty of female teachers in Ferndale. Why not “special consideration” for men?

It’s not clear that students learn more from a teacher of the same race, ethnicity or religion. But I’d have no problem with a school district that gave special consideration to applicants from the students’ neighborhoods and cultures. Should that kind of discrimination be OK?

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Mark Roulo says:

    “But I’d have no problem with a school district that gave special consideration to applicants from the students’ neighborhoods and cultures. Should that kind of discrimination be OK?”
     
    Joanne, are you asking what the commenters think the law should be or are you asking what the law *IS*?
     
    Going mostly from memory of a class I took on keeping hiring within the law, employers are forbidden to base hiring decisions on:
    *) Age (you *can* discriminate against the young, but not those over 40)
    *) Sex
    *) Race
    *) Immigration status (we can ask if the person has a legal right to work)
    *) Religion
    *) Disability
    *) Pregnancy status
    *) Marital status
    *) Presence or absence of children
     
    This is the “Equal Opportunity Employer” bit. Pretty obviously, the law is not always followed. In addition, we are an “affirmative action” employer and so, in theory, we also have a preference for:
    *) Minorities (non-white), and
    *) Women
     
    I supposed one could select on culture without bringing in race or nation of origin, but it would be difficult.
     
    Hiring based on local (not nation of origin) geography is fine.

  2. Whatever happened to judging by the content of character?

    And if there is to be a “separation of church and state” as that idea is currently defined, isn’t it a violation to consider an applicants religion? Where were the atheists these last 40 years so eager to sue over the slightest hint of Christianity?

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Strikes me that members of the unspecial consideration group might feel they have a beef, legally and lawsuit-wise, if they weren’t hired. And if that goes back nearly forty years, there will be a lot of them.