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 last 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 a 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 Khaliq, complained that TiZA was being targeted because of its racial makeup 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 bias but found none, and concluded that Khaliq's complaint didn't hold water.