Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Black and Latino plaintiffs win back pay in Gulino v BOE

Before ed deform - or maybe an early stage of it - one of the first shots at teachers of color was the lifting of licenses from experienced teachers over a test - even if those teachers had excellent ratings.

One of them was in my school, an impeccable pre-k special ed teacher who had worked her way up from a para. My principal loved her. But she kept freezing every time she took the test. Sometimes she missed by a point. She failed it many times, finally giving up and losing her teaching license. My principal arranged for her to be a para in the same pre-k special ed classroom - now being taught by a first year teacher who was being mentored by the teacher who just lost her license to teach. After about 2 years she ventured back to the test with an attitude she had nothing to lose - and passed it with flying colors- the pressure was off I guess - and she was reinstated as a teacher. Without the support of my principal (full disclosure - as Chapter leader I fought with her for years) this teacher would have never survived in the system. So kudos to the principal and given the amount of slime in today's system, I would hug her today.

A new caucus called Progressive Action Caucus was formed in the late 90s, led by Marc Pessin, a superb organizer (there were other issues with Marc that I won't go into at this point). They held monthly meetings packed with teachers on the cusp - sometimes a hundred or more. Ed Notes was in its early days and I made a resolution at the DA calling for the UFT to find a way to protect these people. No dice. (Another reso I made in that period to curb the impact of high stakes test for children was also turned down.) The UFT leadership was just as test crazy as the deformers.

Eventually, thousands of licenses were lifted and these teachers lost their jobs. Pessin organized a law suit in federal court. I went to some of the hearings in front of famed black judge Constance Baker Motley - we felt this gave them a chance. No dice -- Motley ruled against them.

A decade passed and low and behold this email came into the MORE Discussion list from Sean Ahern.
Black and Latino educators in New York who took the LAST exam and  were denied employment, dismissed or demoted  as a consequence between 1995 -2004 are eligible for back pay and benefits.  The notice below was sent out to all those currently identified as eligible. It is estimated that between 8,000 -15,000 are eligible. The Gulino v BOE case was  dragged out for 20 years by the BOE/DOE.   If you know someone who might be eligible have them contact:


The Garden City Group, Inc. at:
Gulino v. Board of Education 
PO Box 9000 #6543
Merrick, NY 11566-9000
Mail E-mail
Phone 
Website


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

---------------------------------------------------------------------- x
ELSA GULINO, MAYLING RALPH, PETER WILDS, 
and NIA GREENE, on behalf of themselves and all others 
similarly situated, 
Plaintiffs,
- against -
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY 
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, 
Defendant.

:
96 Civ. 8414 (KMW)
---------------------------------------------------------------------- x
NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF RULE 23(B)(3) CLASS ACTION 
TO: All African-American and Latino individuals employed as New York City public 
school teachers by the Board of Education of the City of New York on or after June 
29, 1995, who failed to achieve a qualifying score on an administration of the 
Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (“LAST”) given on or before February 13, 2004, and 
as a result either lost or were denied a permanent teaching appointment.
1. Why did I receive this Notice?
The Court presiding over this lawsuit has determined that the LAST unlawfully 
discriminates against African Americans and Latinos. As a result, the Court has found 
that the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York (“BOE”) 
violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by requiring African-American and 
Latino teachers who were employed by the BOE to pass the LAST as a condition of 
retaining, or being appointed to, a full-time teaching position. You are receiving this 
Notice because records from the BOE and the New York State Education Department 
(“SED”) indicate that you may be a member of the class in this case certified under 
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) (the “Class”) and your rights may be affected by 
the pending litigation. 
2. Who is included in the Class?
The Class is defined as follows: All African-American and Latino individuals employed 
as New York City public school teachers by Defendant, on or after June 29, 1995, who 
failed to achieve a qualifying score on an administration of the LAST-1 given on or 2
before February 13, 2004, and as a result either lost or were denied a permanent teaching 
appointment.
3. What claims have been made?
The Complaint alleges that the BOE violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by 
(1) conditioning the receipt of a regular license and permanent teaching appointment on 
obtaining a passing score on the LAST, and/or (2) demoting those who had obtained a 
regular license but failed to pass the LAST as part of obtaining maximum requirements 
for the license. The Complaint seeks damages that include back pay, unpaid benefits, 
restoration of seniority, and pension credits.
4. Do I need to do anything?
You have three options: 
Option 1) If you wish to remain in the Class, there is nothing for you to do at this 
time. You will be bound by any judgment or order the Court may enter, whether it is 
favorable or unfavorable. If there is a monetary settlement or recovery for plaintiffs, you 
may be entitled to receive a portion of the proceeds of that settlement or recovery. If 
there is ultimately no recovery, you will not be able to pursue a lawsuit on your own 
against the BOE regarding the same issues in this lawsuit. You do not lose the right to 
pursue any action against the BOE for any issues unrelated to those involved in this case. 
If you remain in the Class, you will be represented by the attorneys for the Class. 
Continue to watch for additional notices that you will receive about this litigation and 
respond to them promptly. Additional information will be needed for you to recover any 
monetary relief.
Option 2) You may remain in the Class, but retain separate counsel. It is your 
right to be represented by counsel of your choosing. At this time you are represented by 
the Class counsel, indicated below. If you retain separate counsel, you and your separate 
counsel will be responsible for pursuing any recovery you are entitled to in this action.
Option 3) You may exclude yourself from the Class and pursue a claim for the 
individual relief that has been asserted on your behalf in this case on your own. If you 
withdraw from the Class, you will not be represented by Class counsel in your claim for 
monetary relief. If you withdraw from the Class, you will remain part of a previously-3
certified class for purposes of classwide injunctive relief. Details concerning how to be 
excluded from the Class are listed below. 
5. If I currently am employed by the BOE, can the BOE fire me or take other action against 
me if I participate in this case? 
No. The law prohibits the BOE from firing or otherwise discriminating against any 
employee for participating in this case. 
6. What if I do not want to be a part of the Class?
You have the right to be excluded from this Class. If you would like to exclude yourself, 
you must send a written request stating that you want to be excluded from Gulino v. 
Board of Education to: 
Gulino v. Board of Education
PO Box 9000 #6543
Merrick, NY 11566-9000
The request for exclusion must include your name, address, be signed by you, and be 
postmarked no later than September 15, 2014. You may not exclude yourself by 
telephone or email. 
If you exclude yourself, you will not be entitled to share in any monetary 
settlement or recovery that may be obtained on behalf of the Class, but you may pursue a 
lawsuit on your own involving the same issues in this lawsuit relating to possible 
entitlement to individual relief. The time to pursue your monetary claims if you 
withdraw from the Class is limited. Do not wait to retain separate counsel or pursue your 
claims after you withdraw from the Class. 
7. Who are the attorneys representing the Class?
The Class is represented by the following attorneys:
Joshua S. Sohn, Esq.
DLA Piper LLP (US)
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10020
Joel Hellman, Esq.
155 North Michigan Avenue, 
Suite 501
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Baher Azmy, Esq.
Center for Constitutional Rights
666 Broadway, Seventh Floor
New York, New York 10012
8. Who is the Class representative?
The Class Representative is Peter Wilds.4
9. What happens next?
In the near future, you will receive a claim form that will be mailed by a third-party 
claims administrator. If you wish to make a claim for monetary or other relief (such as 
restoration of in-system seniority), you must complete and return the claim form. You 
are free, and encouraged, to contact plaintiffs’ counsel at no cost for assistance in the 
claims process. You may be entitled to collect the value of lost salary and benefits you 
would have earned as a regularly-licensed teacher after you did not pass the LAST. The 
law requires that any monetary damages an individual plaintiff is entitled to receive must 
be off-set by other income that was earned or which, in certain circumstances, could have 
been earned after the plaintiff was discriminated against. A plaintiff may also be required 
to provide documents, certain information, and appear for one or more hearings to 
establish his or her claim. 
10. You are encouraged to contact The Garden City Group, Inc. for additional information or 
to provide contact information.
The plaintiffs’ counsel would like to gather contact information for all potential class 
members and encourages you to contact The Garden City Group, Inc. at the address 
below. YOU DO NOT NEED TO CONTACT THE GARDEN CITY GROUP, INC. AT 
THIS TIME TO REMAIN IN THE CLASS. CONTACTING THE GARDEN CITY 
GROUP, INC. AT THIS TIME IS OPTIONAL AND IS AT NO COST TO YOU. If you 
would like to provide your contact information, have questions about the case, or would 
like to obtain additional information, please contact The Garden City Group, Inc. at:
Mail E-mail
Gulino v. Board of Education 
PO Box 9000 #6543
Merrick, NY 11566-9000
Phone Website
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT OR THE CLERK’S OFFICE TO OBTAIN ANY
INFORMATION OR ADVICE.

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