Josh Verges, Pioneer Press, November 5, 2015
Local civil rights lawyers are preparing to sue the state of Minnesota for allegedly failing to desegregate public schools in the Twin Cities metro area.
Dan Shulman, the Minneapolis lawyer who sued the state in 1995 over segregation in Minneapolis Public Schools, said the situation has not improved.
He intends to file another class-action suit Thursday arguing that the state is denying an adequate education for students of color, as evidenced by wide achievement gaps among racial groups.
The 1995 case resulted in a special open-enrollment program enabling students from low-income Minneapolis families to attend suburban schools. That remedy hasn’t worked for racial integration, however, as large numbers of white Minneapolis families have used it to enroll in heavily white suburban schools.
Plaintiffs in the new suit will include children attending Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. The defendants will be the state of Minnesota and other state agencies and officials.
The state education department awards school districts roughly $100 million a year for desegregation purposes. Commissioner Brenda Cassellius has said Minnesota is more committed than it was in the past to ensuring that money is spent for its intended purpose.
Josh Verges can be reached at 651-228-2171. Follow him at twitter.com/ua14.