Michele A. Yankson


Barriers Operating in the Present: A Way to Rethink the Licensing Exception for Teacher Credentialing Examinations

Michele A. Yankson

Notwithstanding Title VII legal remedies, structural barriers have driven many teachers of color out of the workforce in recent decades. Legislative changes in education policy have exacerbated the problem, notably by mandating teacher certification exams. These exams often disproportionately affect teachers of color. Many teachers suing under a Title VII disparate impact claim, however, cannot name states—the actors that create and promulgate the tests—as defendants because courts have interpreted Title VII’s employment relationship requirement to preclude state-defendants. This Note proposes a framework that involves a real-world analysis of the extent to which states control local school governance. The framework shows that courts should allow state-defendants in these Title VII disparate impact claims when the test at issue is a state-mandated teacher certification test.