Incompetent teachers get rich, kids suffer
Public schools (I prefer the term "government schools") in Democrat-run cities have become a racket, plundering taxpayers' funds and failing to deliver even a minimally acceptable education. The fact that Americans spend more on their government schools than any other country, and yet our students place near the bottom of standardized achievement tests, is all the proof that one needs. We are being cheated on a massive scale, and the future of the nation is in peril when large numbers of children, mostly but not exclusively minorities, are being condemned to low pay and social status because they are so innumerate and illiterate.
John Hinderaker of Powerline drew my attention to the news of a stunning "settlement" that Bill de Blasio agreed to in the last days of his failed mayoralty in New York City.
The New York Post reported:
Roughly 5,200 black and Hispanic ex-Big Apple teachers and once-aspiring educators are expected to collect more than $1.8 billion in judgments after the city stopped fighting a nearly three-decade federal discrimination lawsuit that found a certification exam was biased.
It's the largest legal payout in city history.
As of Friday, 225 people who failed the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test used for teacher licensing from 1994 to 2014 had already been notified they're getting settlements of at least $1 million, according to an analysis of Manhattan federal court records.
Court rulings found the exam violated civil-rights laws, allowing far more white candidates to pass.
I agree with John Hinderaker that these rulings must be based on the fallacious legal doctrine that any examination or criterion that has a "disparate impact" on minorities is presumptively illegal racism. So the blacks and Hispanics who failed the exam — and thereby revealed that they were incompetent to teach their subject matter to students — are entitled to be paid for all the years they did not teach, as if they had been working. And they will be entitled to pensions as if they had been working. Meanwhile, they keep the income from the jobs that they did work at all those years, in effect receiving pay for two careers.
The money for all of this, almost two billion dollars, will not be available to make schools better. And because the settlement exacts such a large penalty, we can be sure that schools will be allowing incompetent teachers who could not pass the exam to penalize their students by being unable to teach, for example, math concepts that they themselves do not understand. It is not clear if the standards will be lowered only for black and Hispanic test-takers, or whether whites, Asians, and other groups also will see their standards lowered. I suspect that in the end, there will be no meaningful testing of competence as a result.
People whose sole professional distinction was their inability to pass a competence test are now in line to become wealthy if they failed the exam long ago. For instance:
Herman Grim, 64, of Queens, on July 5 was awarded the biggest judgment to date — a jaw-dropping $2,055,383.
It includes $1,583,114 in back pay for time never clocked, lost interest accrued, and other compensation.
This purported civil rights "victory" will result in minority students (and others) being cheated out of a decent education. This is a shameful example of a political/legal system gone insane.
I hope the Supreme Court will have an opportunity soon to strike down the disparate impact theory of civil rights litigation. It is an urgent priority, most of all, to help minorities.