Fishman Haygood continues pursuit of educational reform

Fishman Haygood has appealed a trial court order dismissing claims by four Minnesota mothers that the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal, and “last-in-first-out” layoff laws violate their children’s fundamental right to an adequate education. The plaintiffs’ complaint asserts that despite universal recognition that effective teaching is the most important in-school factor to student advancement, Minnesota law currently provides ironclad job security to chronically ineffective teachers thus burdening students’ constitutional right to an education system that meets all state standards for all students. The plaintiffs’ case has attracted widespread attention and support, with national organizations The New Teacher Project and the National Council on Teacher Quality and Minnesota organizations Ed Allies and Freedom Foundation of Minnesota each filing amicus briefs supporting the plaintiffs’ case.

This lawsuit is the fourth of its kind across the country and builds on similar challenges in New York, California, and (most recently) New Jersey. For national press coverage of Forslund v. Minnesota, click here; for Minnesota press coverage, click here.

Fishman Haygood’s involvement in education issues and litigation is well-established. The firm’s lawyers successfully defended the Louisiana Legislature’s efforts to equitably distribute public school funds in a lawsuit against the Orleans Parish School District; successfully defended the Orleans Parish School Board in a separate lawsuit by former employees who alleged that they were wrongfully terminated following Hurricane Katrina; and contributed legal counsel to the lawsuit that stopped former Governor Bobby Jindal from terminating the State of Louisiana’s Common Core testing contract.  Additionally, the firm’s managing partner, Jim Swanson, is chair of the Choice Foundation, the operator of three open-enrollment public schools in New Orleans, including the largest elementary school in the city.

Fishman Haygood attorneys Jim Swanson and Jesse Stewart are lead counsel in Forslund v. Minnesota.