MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The State of Minnesota is under fire for segregation in Minneapolis and St. Paul schools.

A lawsuit filed Thursday by seven families and one nonprofit organization says the state has failed to provide adequate education for minority students.

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The group said schools remain plagued with an achievement gap between black and white students. They targeted segregation as the main problem.

“I want all the children from the Twin Cities to be able to go to a nice desegregated school and get a better education,” Alejandro Cruz-Guzman, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said.

The lawsuit specifically asks for three things: Choices for families, equitable access and ensuring students and families feel safe and valued regardless of their background. They say the desegregation needs to happen metro-wide.

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“Because the state, the city and suburban school districts working together have decided where children go to school,” attorney John Shulman said.

The Shakopee School District, which is not involved in the lawsuit, has seen a significant increase in minority enrollment in the last decade. Superintendent Dr. Rob Thompson says the suburban schools need to be involved in the process to change city schools.

“We look at it as not who’s at fault but we get into this thing together and take a deep dive to really look at the families impacted by segregation,” Dr. Thompson said.

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Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said she had not seen the lawsuit and couldn’t comment on the specifics. She did add that the state is committed to helping students achieve academic success.

Kate Raddatz