New York City’s Board of Education has been granted permission to appeal a judge’s ruling last month that the standardized test used to license teachers until 2001 violated the civil rights of black and Latino teachers because white teachers passed at a significantly higher rate. Southern District Judge Kimba Wood (See Profile) on Jan. 28 ruled that the Board of Education could appeal the question of whether it could be subject to Title VII liability for following a statute that is “facially neutral,” even if it has a disparate impact.

Wood ruled last month that the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test, or LAST, used to certify teachers from 1996 to 2001 violated Title VII. But she also ruled that the plaintiffs’ class had been certified pursuant to the wrong rule of civil procedure, and the plaintiffs must seek certification under a different rule for the next phase of the case, in which the court would decide on a remedy (NYLJ, Dec. 6, 2012). Wood also ordered the appointment of a monitor to ensure that the current LAST exam does not violate Title VII, as the city maintains.

Wood said in the recent order in Gulino v. Board of Education, 1:96-cv-08414, that “an immediate appeal would likely advance the termination of this litigation,” since if the board wins a reversal, it will make the recertification and subsequent remedial phase unnecessary. She noted that the case has already been pending for 17 years.