For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2018
Forslund Plaintiffs Push for Educational Justice Case to Proceed
St. Paul, MN – The plaintiffs in the Forslund v. Minnesota educational justice case filed a supplemental brief yesterday with the Minnesota Court of Appeals arguing that their case should move forward and be determined on the merits. On August 21, the Minnesota Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeals’ prior decision to dismiss Forslund, and directed the Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling in light of the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling in the Twin Cities school desegregation lawsuit, Cruz-Guzman v. Minnesota. In Cruz-Guzman, the Supreme Court determined that the educational adequacy claims raised were subject to judicial review. In their supplemental brief, the Forslund plaintiffs argue that Cruz-Guzman removes any doubt that Forslund’s claims are subject to judicial review, because the Supreme Court’s Cruz-Guzman analysis applies with equal weight to their case. The plaintiffs’ brief can be found here.
“The Minnesota Supreme Court’s finding in the Cruz-Guzman lawsuit confirms that Minnesota students have a fundamental right to a baseline level adequate education, which is a right to more than ‘anything that might be labeled as “education.”’ There is no doubt that effective teachers are necessary to deliver on that promise. It is now up to the courts to allow the Forslund parents to argue their case on the merits. These families deserve their day in court,” said Alissa Bernstein, Executive Director of Partnership for Educational Justice.
“In 2016, when the brave parents of Forslund filed suit against the state of Minnesota, we all knew we had a fight ahead for our children, and we were ready. The recent Supreme Court order that vacated the dismissal of Forslund is a win in the fight for the parents who filed this lawsuit, and the thousands of parents across the state of Minnesota fighting every day to ensure their children have access to a high quality education to live their dreams post K-12. It is the hope of all parents that this victory leads to the ultimate victory; students across Minnesota receiving a high quality K-12 education and being taught by highly effective teachers. The parents of Forslund are seeking to make their case for not only their children but all of our children,” said Latasha Gandy, local parent and K-12 education advocate.
The Court of Appeals judges deciding the Forslund case will conference on the matter on November 9, 2018. They will decide the case based on the written submissions previously filed and supplemental filings submitted in light of the Supreme Court’s August 21 Order vacating the dismissal. No oral argument will be heard.
Forslund v. Minnesota was filed on April 14, 2016, by four mothers from across Minnesota. The lawsuit challenges the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal, and seniority-based layoff laws. The plaintiffs allege that these laws perpetuate disparities in education outcomes by preventing dismissal of chronically ineffective teachers. The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit following unsuccessful bi-partisan legislative efforts to reform teacher employment statutes. The Forslund v. Minnesota plaintiffs are represented by pro bono attorneys from the law firms Fishman Haygood, Bassford Remele, and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds.
About Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ)
PEJ pursues educational equity through legal action to improve the quality of public schools. PEJ utilizes a variety of legal actions to achieve its mission, including pursuing impact litigation, amicus brief filings, Freedom of Information Act requests, and other law-related avenues that seek to achieve meaningful reforms of education laws or policies that fail to prioritize students’ rights. PEJ is an affiliate of the national education nonprofit 50CAN: 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, which advocates at the local level for a high-quality education for all kids, regardless of their address.
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