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Detroit area school district orders hiring ban on new white teachers.

From Detroit News…

Efforts by one of Metro Detroit’s largest suburban school districts to recruit more minority teachers and administrators have renewed debate over the use of race in hiring decisions.

A recent directive in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools urges administrators to scan resumes for “clues” that applicants are from a minority racial group. Tip-offs can include job-seekers’ residence, college attendance, fraternity or church membership and employment history.

Nearly a quarter of Plymouth-Canton’s nearly 19,000 students are minorities, compared with less than 3 percent of its educational staff. District officials say they want to close that gap while hiring the most-qualified candidates.

“We’re a good district, but this will help us look closer at ourselves,” said Superintendent Craig Fiegel. “We know we’ve needed to do it, but we’re now making a conscious effort to change… and are talking about being more diverse in areas where we haven’t been diverse.”

That approach has some supporters, but opponents argue it discriminates against whites by favoring blacks and other racial minorities.

“I would remind them that Michigan voters, in 2006, passed an initiative that makes it unconstitutional to use skin color when making hiring decisions within the realm of public education,” said Jennifer Gratz, who challenged affirmative action laws after she was rejected for admission to the University of Michigan.

“They should hire the most qualified teachers, and race and gender should not be a factor,” said Gratz, director of the American Civil Rights Institute, a California-based group that advocates against affirmative action.