New class action suit targets school segregation

Legal team was behind 1990s lawsuit that produced Choice is Yours

Details of a new class action lawsuit that claims segregated Twin Cities schools are primary reason for school achievement gaps will be released in a press conference planned for Thursday morning.

Dan Shulman, a principal at Minneapolis law firm Gray Plant Mooty and the lead attorney on the lawsuit, said he would wait until Thusday’s planned announcement to share more information. Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Shulman said only that the action was “necessary” and that he’d “waited too long.”

The settlement of a similar lawsuit filed by Minneapolis parents and the Minneapolis NAACP in 2000 produced the Choice is Yours program. Choice is Yours gave low-income Minneapolis families the choice to open enroll in suburban districts, which were required to hold seats open for those students. The state paid transportation costs for the students.

Unlike that case, the plaintiffs in this new lawsuit include families in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to a press release. The legal team plans to file the lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court around 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

The press release announcing the event stated: “Segregated schools are the primary reason Twin Cities schools remain plagued with a stunning learning gap between white students and students of color.”

Shulman’s son, John Shulman, is an attorney, filmmaker and writer who in 2014 published “Minnissippi.” While a work of fiction, its setting strongly resembles Minneapolis, and the plot concerns a young civil rights attorney taking on a school system where students of color are concentrated in low-performing public schools.