NYC Education Dept. special education official alleges race-based pay discrimination

A high-ranking New York City special education official who’s Black accuses the Department of Education of racial bias for paying her tens of thousands of dollars a year less than colleagues with identical jobs.

Barbara Wedderburn-Simpson was the only of the nine boroughwide special education directors who was Black when she was promoted into the job in 2019, according to her lawsuit filed last week in Brooklyn Federal Court. The job involves overseeing services for students with disabilities across multiple city school districts.

Before she became a special education director, Wedderburn-Simpson worked nearly two decades in the department as a teacher, school psychologist, and supervising school psychologist.