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According to the most recent WalletHub survey, Minnesota comes in second to last in terms of education racial equality among the 50 states. Minnesota only loses out to its rival Wisconsin, which takes first place in terms of racial inequality.

Minnesota has struggled with race across many dimensions that have been well documented. It comes in among the worst states in the country in racial disparities in criminal justice, health and health care outcomes, and employment, wealth and income. Cities such as Minneapolis and St. Paul also have legacies of racial covenants and zoning that produced residential segregation that persists in the present. Reports also place Minnesota among the worst states in the country when it comes to economic mobility and stagnation, including for people of color.

But among the most notable inequalities has been education. Back in the 1990s, while I was still working at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Race and Poverty, we also documented how Minnesota and especially Minneapolis were among the worst areas in the country when it came to residential segregation and educational outcomes.

Back then, the city of Minneapolis was in the midst of legal challenges to segregation in its schools and the state was also heavily criticized for its racial inequities when it came to education. Ostensibly many of the reforms adopted in Minnesota were aimed at addressing these racial inequalities. These included open enrollment, magnet schools, charter schools and the enabling of more parental choice. All in theory were meant to address the problems of educational inequity. However, one can take another interpretation of these reforms: They were not meant to address the problems of racial inequality, but simply to forestall having to make the tough choices needed to really address them.

Thus when we look at the WalletHub report, what we find is that Minnesota ranks 49th out of the 50 states in terms of overall racial equality (where a rank of 1 indicates the most equality). It comes in 50th in the gap between white and Black adults with at least a high school degree, 42nd in the gap in share of adults with at least a bachelor's degree, 49th in the gap in high school graduation rates, 38th in the gap in standardized test scores, 38th in the gap in mean SAT scores and 34th in the gap in average ACT scores. If you are white, and perhaps affluent, then Minnesota schools do well. But if you are a person of color, the schools largely fail you.

Minnesota has known about these problems for a quarter of a century if not more. There have been no serious suggestions or policies to address this problem. Some have argued for a constitutional amendment simply to change the way education is funded or to give individuals a state constitutional right to sue for inequities. There is little evidence that such approaches would work.

Conversely, while teachers deserve to be paid more, increasing their pay or changing workloads also will not address the racial equality gap. The problem is far more entrenched. It is entrenched in the legacy of racial covenants and segregation in the state. It is entrenched in the fact that for so many years, people of color represented such a small percentage of the population they were powerless and voiceless in terms of formulating public policy. It is entrenched because of the fragmented nature of our school boundaries and jurisdictions in Minnesota, and it is entrenched simply because at the end of the day, there is neither the will nor the desire to really address these fundamental inequalities.

Seventy years ago the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Brown v. Board of Education that educational segregation and "separate but equal" doctrine were unconstitutional. That decision brought promise and hope for educational equality. Yet 70 years later that promise has yet to come to Minnesota. To be a leader in education racial inequality is nothing to be proud of. But that is the distinction that Minnesota still suffers from.

David Schultz is the Winston Folkers Endowed Distinguished Faculty Chair at Hamline University.