Why should Minnesota Charter Leaders care about the currently pending Cruz-Guzman case?

Many believe the Cruz-Guzman case will impact parent choice and the ability to choose a  culturally-affirming school.

This case has been an ongoing battle since November 2015 and rests on the Cruz-Guzman Plaintiffs’ pending dispositive motion on their claim that the Minnesota Constitution Article XVII Section 1’s Education Clause includes the students’ “fundamental right” to an “adequate” education under racially and socioeconomically “integrated education.”

There is a deadline for Judge Robiner’s ruling on the summary judgment motion December 13, 2021.  However, it appears all parties have expressed this constitutional issue will need to be decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

According to a recent update, Daniel Shulman is the first lawyer in the country to file litigation to stop parents from choosing public schools that are not racially or socially-economically “integrated.” He argues that “integrated” schools are more important than either academically “high-quality” schools or “parent choice.”

The only “parent choice” Shulman endorses is one to attend an “integrated” school. In his lawsuit, Shulman seeks to fundamentally and permanently change how charter schools enroll and educate students.

The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools sees Cruz Guzman as one of the biggest, most threatening issues facing the national educational community. According to CEO, Nina Rees, “When parents freely choose to send their children to public charter schools, those parents have affirmed their belief that public charter schools are good options for their families. We strongly urge it to refrain from limiting the ability of parents – ­especially parents of students who have long been denied high-quality public school options – to choose among the best public schools available to their children, regardless of location or student population.”

The National Alliance contends the following two premises:

  1. Parents should be empowered to choose the schools that best fit their students
  2. A school’s academic performance is much more important than a school’s student demographics – i.e., “who’s sitting next to whom.”

And as a charter community, we need to win this case for the following three reasons:

  • Establish favorable case law;
  • Protect Minnesota charter schools and families; and
  • Signal to opponents in other states that they, too, will lose litigation like this.

If you have further questions or would like to support this work, please reach out to us at charter411@chartersource.

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