PLYMOUTH, Mich. — A new emphasis on hiring minority teachers and administrators has drawn mixed opinion in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, where 25 percent of the student body is made up of minorities compared to less than 3 percent of educational staff, according to The Detroit News.

A recent directive encourages district administrators to look at job applicants' college attendance, fraternity or church membership as "cues" to whether the individual is a member of a minority group, The News reported.

Superintendent Craig Fiegel told The News that the district is making a conscious effort to become more diverse, while also maintaining teacher quality, but opponents argued that such a practice discriminates against white applicants.

"They should hire the most qualified teachers, and race and gender should not be a factor," said Jennifer Gratz, director of the California-based American Civil Rights Institute. Gratz challenged Michigan's affirmative action laws after she was rejected for admission to the University of Michigan.

Ann Marie Hudak, chairwoman of the Plymouth-Canton Citizens for Diversity and Inclusion, told The News that the teaching population should reflect the student population. Most metro Detroit districts have proportionately more minority children than teachers, The News reported.

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, "Plymouth-Canton minority-teacher push stirs controversy," July 6, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Teacher Quality Primer," June 30, 2008

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