The Minnesota Education Department's investigation into the test scores and teaching licenses of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy was not racially motivated, the U.S. Education Department ruled this week.
The Inver Groves Heights academy known as TiZA is a charter school whose student body is about 80 percent immigrant, mostly from Somalia. The ACLU is suing TiZA for allegedly promoting Islam in what should be an altogether secular institution. In filing the suit, the ACLU noted the students' conspicuously high test scores.
The Minnesota Education Department, meanwhile, launched an investigation into TiZA's testing procedures and teacher licenses in 2009. The department found that eight teachers lacked valid teaching licenses and fined TiZA $139,000.
In the saga's latest chapter, the president of the St. Paul NAACP Nathaniel Khaliqcomplained that TiZA was being targeted because of its racial make-up and accused the Minnesota Education Department of discriminating against TiZA students. After fielding Khaliq's complaint, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights evaluated the state agency's conduct to turn up any evidence of racial.ethnic bias.
The Office for Civil Rights found none and concluded that Khaliq's allegations didn't hold water.
"[The] OCR has determined that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the different treatment to which [TiZA] was subjected was based on the race or national origin of [TiZA's] students," the findings reported.