An old saying states, “A lie don’t care who tells it.” And recently, the City of New York gave in to what thousands hold as their truth.
Black and Latinx teachers have alleged that the state licensing exam was biased for years. After years of contention with a major lawsuit, the city conceded to the claims, and so far, $835 million have been awarded to educators.
The Data Showed Proof
According to the Wall Street Journal, approximately 4,700 former New York City teachers who were fired or demoted since 1995 are now eligible to collect their portion of the settlement funds. While $835 million has already been paid out, the city is setting aside an estimated $1.8 billion over the next several years to compensate for additional claims.
“It was time to bring this long-standing case to a close,” a New York City law department spokesman said to WSJ.
From 1990 to 2014, the State of New York required all teachers to pass the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test to receive a license. However, a group of teachers thought the use of the test violated employment laws and filed a discrimination lawsuit in 1996.
During that suit, teachers showed data to support that white test-takers passed the test at a significantly higher rate than Black and Latinx test takers, the WSJ reports. The data showed that the passing disparity had gotten so vast that it was hard to ignore. At specific points, over 93 percent of white test takers passed the test compared to just 53 percent of Black test-takers and 50 percent of Latinx test-takers sitting for the same exam.
A Shift In Their Favor
A significant shift in the teacher’s favor came from a 2012 court ruling. The ruling found that the required licensing test violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The finding asserted that the test, in part, did not have a direct correlation to how the teachers performed in the classroom and did not offer concrete metrics on instructional success.
While the City of New York maintains that it was only following the requirements set forth by the state, it found itself in the position to offer payouts as an appellate court ruled that the state was not the official employer of teachers.
Since the concession by the city, payments made to the teachers have ranged from just hundreds of dollars to almost $2 million, a spokesman told the WSJ.