Minnesota: The sue me state

The featured op-ed column in today’s Star Tribune is our friend Katherine Kersten’s “State poised to enter a legal danger zone.” In a preview of coming attractions, Kathy observes that Minnesota’s liberal establishment has effectively set the state up for an educational adequacy lawsuit of the kind that has done such wonders for schools and kids elsewhere. Based on her own first-hand experience and related Center of the American Experiment report “Our immense achievement gap” (summary here, full report here), Kathy writes:

Minnesota is heading straight toward a legal buzz saw. Our state faces a looming “educational adequacy” lawsuit that threatens both the quality of our public schools and our cherished tradition of school choice — and may bankrupt the state treasury in the process.

Though the suit will be brought in the name of improving education, it will have the opposite effect. If successful, it will likely burden our teachers with impossible mandates and lower our academic standards, while astronomically increasing the cost of K-12 education.

Here’s the kicker: Below the radar, our own Minnesota Department of Education and other taxpayer-funded educational institutions are working to lay the legal groundwork for a court victory by plaintiffs that will usher in this educational and fiscal debacle.

In December 2011, a phalanx of lawyers emphasized the threat of such a suit to the Integration Revenue Replacement Advisory Task Force, of which I was a member. The task force’s mission was to develop recommendations to repurpose state funds now used to promote interracial contacts in many school districts.

One well-known attorney — Dan Shulman of the Minneapolis firm of Gray Plant Mooty — told the Star Tribune then that he is already “prepared” to sue the state of Minnesota.” I just need clients,” he declared.

Kathy may well be Minnesota’s most valuable citizen. She is sounding an alarm. Please read the whole thing.


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