A federal judge on Friday found that an exam for New York teaching candidates was racially discriminatory because it did not measure skills necessary to do the job, the latest step in a court battle over teacher qualifications that has spanned nearly 20 years.
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According to Friday’s decision, written by Judge Kimba M. Wood of Federal District Court in Manhattan, the pass rate for African-American and Latino candidates was between 54 percent and 75 percent of the pass rate for white candidates. Once it was established that minority applicants were failing at a disproportionately high rate, the burden shifted to education officials to prove that the skills being tested were necessary to do the job; otherwise, the test would be ruled discriminatory.
SIDE NOTE: Those with a long memory will recall that Bill Clinton tried to make Kimba Wood his Attorney General, until it was revealed that she (like Zoe Baird) had hired an illegal.
BACK TO THE MAIN POST: What was the exam’s offense? Requiring teachers to know about liberal arts:
“Instead of beginning with ascertaining the job tasks of New York teachers, the two LAST examinations began with the premise that all New York teachers should be required to demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts,” Judge Wood wrote.
Joshua Sohn, a partner at the firm Mishcon de Reya, who represents the prospective teachers in the case, echoed the that sentiment.
“They started with the conclusion, without any support, that this is what you actually needed to know to be an effective teacher,” Mr. Sohn said.
Just be glad you don’t have any kids in the New York public schools.