‘Patently unconstitutional’: School under fire for race-based scholarships

By Bob Unruh

(Photo by TopSphere Media on Unsplash)

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty has announced it is challenging a scholarship program in the Beloit, Wisconsin, school district for being racist and discriminatory.

“The district’s race-based GYO program is patently unconstitutional and illegal under decades-old United States Supreme Court precedent and other laws,” explained WILL associate counsel Cara Tolliver.

“Citizens ought to demand more from their elected government officials—even more so for those charged with the care and education of children. Given the ongoing teacher shortage, the district should be welcoming all qualified scholarship candidates, not foreclosing teaching incentives on the irrelevant and unlawful basis of a human being’s skin pigmentation or ethnic make-up.”

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At issue, WILL reported, is the district’s “Grow Your Own Multicultural Teacher Scholarship Program.”

“According to numerous publicly available documents and other materials, the district solicits contributions from employees and board members to fund racially discriminatory teaching scholarships for students and staff. GYO scholars receive up to $20,000 ($5,000 per year for four years) in addition to mentoring services.”

The program, however, has a racist agenda.

“The district uses the scholarships to train and recruit new ‘teacher[s] who look like’ certain students, and so the program extends only to members of certain racial minority groups preferred by the district,” WILL explained.

“The district’s race-based GYO program violates numerous anti-discrimination prohibitions, including the United States Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. WILL warns of further action if the district insists on maintaining this unlawful program.”

The report explained the scholarship scheme is part of the district’s commitment “to ensure a diverse professional teaching workforce” so that students can “see[] and be[] taught by a teacher who looks like them.”

The program’s privileged characteristics are “Black/African American,” “Native American/Alaskan,” “Asian,” and “Hispanic/Latinx.”

The legal team documented further that the school uses public resources, time and employees in running the program.

“In fact, the district solicits funding from its employees and Board members through direct payroll deductions and other available options and has offered incentives for paid-time-off to staff members who donate to the GYO fund,” it reported.

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