A federal judge says that a decades-old teacher certification exam discriminates against black and Hispanic applicants, and now the city may have to pony up $455 million in damages, according to the New York Post.
The suit argued that the Department of Education violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by utilizing the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test, or LAST, as a certification test, though it had never been validated.
“This decision makes clear that the city’s use of the LAST both to deny permanent positions to teacher applicants and to cut salaries and benefits of in-service teachers was unlawful,” Joshua Sohn, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, told the Post. “The court recognized that the LAST provided no reliable information about the qualifications or abilities of the affected teachers.”
The affected teachers – anywhere from 2,000 to 3,500 – will not be entitled to back-pay, the judge also ruled.
During a court hearing on Jan. 10, the teachers are expected to discuss the filing of a separate action to seek compensation from the city.
The $445 million payout, a figure projected by the DOE in a 2011 fiscal report, would be more than triple the $128 million that the city will be paying out to minority FDNY applications, stemming from a similar case of entrance-exam discrimination.
According to the Post, the state is in process of creating new certification exams that may debut as early as next year.