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THOMPSON v. COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT 200

April 18, 2003

RAY THOMPSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT 200, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur, Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Ray Thompson ("Thompson") has sued Community Unit School District 200 ("District"), charging that its failure to hire him as a high school math teacher was motivated by racial and age bias and was hence a violation of an entire congeries of statutory and constitutional provisions: Title VII (42 U.S.C. § 2000e to 2000e-17*fn1), Sections 1981 and 1983 (in those two respects via the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA," 29 U.S.C. § 623. to 634). District has moved for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56, and both sides have complied with this District Court's LR 56.1.*fn2 For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, District's motion is granted and this action is dismissed in its entirety.

Background

Thompson is art African-American over the age of 40 who is certified by the State of Illinois to teach high school mathematics (D. St. ¶ 1). In 1966 he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Indiana Institute of Technology with a 2.3 GPA (T. St. ¶ 2, D. St. ¶ 31). In 1968 he received his Master's Degree in Education from University of St. Francis*fn3 with a 3.4 GPA (T. St. ¶¶ 3-4). In 1996 Thompson received his Illinois Teacher's certificate from Illinois Benedictine College with a 3.7 GPA (T. St. ¶ 4, T. Mem. 3).

In 1996 Thompson was hired by Glenbard High School District 87 ("Glenbard") as a full-time math teacher (T. St. ¶ 13), but he was dismissed from the position at the end of the 1996-97 school year (D. St. ¶ 21). Although Glenbard attributes his dismissal to poor performance (id.), Thompson disputes that reason, and on September 16, 1997 he filed a charge of discrimination against Glenbard (T. Resp. St. ¶ 21).

On August 3, 1999 Thompson filed out an application for a full-time high school mathematics position in the District (D. St. ¶ 29), and he completed all supporting materials about September 28, 1999 (D. St. ¶ 30). District never hired Thompson.

As part of the District application, Thompson completed seven screening questions that had been developed by Ventures for Excellence ("Ventures") (D. St. ¶ 32) to test full-time teacher applicants by studying the responses of outstanding teachers considered to be the best in their field (D. St. ¶ 7). On those seven questions Thompson had only one answer marked correct, with the other six being tagged with question marks (T. Resp. St. ¶ 32). While District contends that Thompson's score was just one out of seven (D. St. ¶ 32), Thompson argues that the only possible markings for a question are a "plus, minus or zero" (T. Resp. St. ¶ 32) — so he disputes District's view of the matter.

Even though that does raise a question as to what effect is to be given the half-dozen question marks on Thompson's questionnaire, what is significant for present purposes is that when the founder and president of Ventures reviewed Thompson's answers he said "I did not find any of these statements that are consistent with the excellence we are looking for" (D. Ex. J at 16). In that respect there are significant disputes between the parties as to the minimal standards required for candidates to be hired by District (contrast T. Mem. 6-8 with D. Mem. 8-9). But it is undisputed that District would certainly prefer candidates who had higher scores on the Ventures questionnaire (T. Resp. St. ¶ 8).

In any event it has proved unnecessary to identify the universe within which Thompson's claims of discrimination are to be evaluated. What follows will seek to identify the alternatives in that regard, but the ensuing discussion confirms that Thompson is a loser from any perspective.

During the three school years beginning in 1999 and ending in 2002, a total of 43 math teachers were hired by District (T. St. ¶ 41). But 15 of those were middle school positions (six of which also required certification in language arts, reading, social studies and/or Spanish) (D. Resp. St. ¶ 41). Thompson was not vying for those positions because his 1999 application, 2000 resume and 2001 resume all said that he was seeking high school positions (T. Resp. St. ¶ 41). of the 28 high school positions, two were less than full time, leaving 26 full-time or almost full-time positions (T. Resp. St. ¶ 41). Nine of those positions were filled before Thomson had completed his District application on September 29, 1999, thus leaving 17 positions available for possible comparative evaluation (T. Resp. St. ¶ 41).

Of those 17 positions, the record contains pertinent information on qualifications of only 11:*fn4

Table 1

Name Posting Date Hire Ventures Under- Years of Date for Recommended Date Score graduate Full-Time Postition for Hire GPA Math Experience Jill 3/29/00 5/25/00 6/14/00 No 3.8 0 Stevens (T. Ex. (D. St. (D. St. Score*fn5 (D.St. (D. St. 5) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) (D. St. ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44)
Robert 4/5/00 — 5/10/00 — 3.6 — Pinta (T. Ex. (T. St. (T. Ex. 5) ¶ 46) 12 at D664)
John 4/27/00 6/3/00 6/14/00 2 2.57 2 Ratkovich (T. Ex. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. 5) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44)
Jocelyn 5/10/00 — 5/24/00 — 3.41 — Straight (T. Ex. (T. St. (T. Ex. 5) ¶ 47) 12 at D675)
Michael 6/21/00 7/6/00 7/26/00 4 2.7 4 Sheffield (T. Ex. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. 5) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44)
Amy 1/17/01 3/20/01 3/14/01 4 2.957 5 Berguist (T. Ex. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. 5) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44)
Michelle 3/14/01 3/19/01 4/11/01 6 3.112 — Allured (T. Ex. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. 5) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44) ¶ 44)
Timothy 3/14/01 3/26/01 4/11/01 4 4.0 — Brown (T. Ex. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. (D. St. 5) ¶ 44 ¶ 44 ¶ 44) ¶ 44)
James 4/25/01 — 08/01 5 — 2 Whitson (T. Ex. (T. St. (T. Ex. (T. Ex. 12 5) ¶ 51) 12 at at D716) D716)
Craig 5/2/01*fn6 — 08/01 — 2.68 — Keuer (T. Ex. (T. St. (T. Ex. 5) ¶ 51) 12 at D727)
Scott 7/5/01*fn7 — 7/11/01 — — 7 Grumbles (T. Ex. (T. St. (T. Ex. 12 5) ¶ 49) at D747)
District has a policy that assures equal employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, age or other protected category (D. St. ¶ 5). It also expressly encourages the recruitment and hiring of minority employees (id.).

One other fact is relevant to the identification of those other applicants whose situations are to be considered in evaluating Thompson's claims. Thompson has regularly continued the annual submission of applications or resumes to update his application file for ...


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