FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2019
Contact: Alissa Bernstein, firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-874-3602
PEJ Statement on Minnesota Court of Appeals Decision in Forslund v. Minnesota
St. Paul, MN – Partnership for Educational Justice has responded to today’s decision from the Court of Appeals in the Forslund v. Minnesota lawsuit.
Following the Minnesota Supreme Court’s August 2018 order vacating the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ prior dismissal of Forslund v. Minnesota, today, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the case on different grounds. While today’s decision agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that this court’s prior reasoning for dismissal required reversal, finding that the lawsuit’s claims were not nonjusticiable political questions, the court also made additional rulings regarding other issues raised in this appeal that resulted in its ultimate decision to dismiss the case. The additional rulings in today’s decision included another determination in favor of the plaintiffs, which accepted their argument that they have standing and are the proper parties to pursue these claims; however, the dispositive issue in today’s decision to dismiss was based on a determination that the parents’ claims alleging violations of the Minnesota Constitution’s Education Clause and Equal Protection Clause were insufficient for the case to proceed. The court’s decision can be found here.
“Even though this court agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that this court’s prior reasoning to dismiss the case should be reversed, we are extremely disappointed they have dismissed the case on new grounds,” said Alissa Bernstein, Executive Director of Partnership for Educational Justice. “Forslund v. Minnesota surely shows the ups and downs of impact litigation. We are proud to support the brave mothers who have nevertheless persisted in their pursuit for educational justice that asks the State to deliver on its promise of an adequate education for all children in Minnesota.”
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.