Pioneer Press: Overhaul of Minnesota school integration in limbo

Mila Koumpilova writes in the Pioneer Press today: “Overhaul of Minnesota school integration in limbo.” In the story she notes that the Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Education differ about who should take the next step with the integration task force recommendations.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, chairman of the House Education Finance Committee, said Friday that he expects the Education Department to flesh out a proposal legislators can act on this session. But the department says the ball is in the Legislature’s court.

Koumpilova also exposes some of the tensions emerging from members of the task force.

[Kersten said,] “If the Legislature does nothing, the integration program goes away, and I think that might be the best outcome.”

Kersten added that her Center for the American Experiment report, a year in the making, is completely independent of her service on the task force. …

Myron Orfield, a fellow task force member, said Kersten’s views set her apart on the task force. “Everyone but her felt there were benefits to integration,” he said.

It is odd that the Legislature has already had Kersten testify about her own views but has failed to hold any sort of hearing about the actual task force recommendations.

“You have something that’s so rare in this day and age – a bipartisan recommendation with more than a supermajority,” said committee co-chairman Scott Thomas, an equity coordinator in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district. “The response has been absolute silence.”