225 People to Split Over $1.8 Billion Over Test Court Deemed Racist

(LibertySons.org) – Persistence pays. In Herman Grim’s case, persistence in the face of failure paid extraordinary dividends. As it happens, Grim took — and failed — the New York teacher’s exam multiple times between the mid-90s and 2010. In 2012, Judge Kimba Wood, a US District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York, ruled the test discriminated against people of color in a lawsuit. Appeals ensued, but now, New York City has notified 225 people they will receive settlements of at least $1 million, and approximately 5200 people of color will share in a payout worth more than $1.8 billion in damages.

The court awarded Grim more than any other plaintiff because of the number of his attempts (and failures) to pass the test. The New York Post reported he would receive an amount in excess of $2,055,000. Grim’s lawyer confirmed the award on Friday, July 14. The damage assessments represent back pay the recipients might have earned, lost interest on that pay, and other forms of restitution. Most plaintiffs in the case also become eligible for pension benefits.

At the direction of the state Board of Education, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) administered a Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST) to existing and aspiring educators. The results of the LAST determined whether the DOE kept teachers in their positions, demoted them to substitute statuses, or didn’t hire them at all. In 1996, attorneys for Elsa Gulino and three others filed suit against the state Board of Education and the DOE, claiming the LAST discriminated against African-American and Latino teaching candidates.

Statistically, more than 90% of white teachers passed the LAST while only 53% of black and 50% of Latino educators received an acceptable score, according to the suit’s original pleading. The court certified the lawsuit as a class action in 2013 and started making payments to claimants in 2021 under a qualified settlement fund order. In part, the restitution amounts became so large because the DOE chose to appeal and fight the 2012 ruling.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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