Monday, June 29, 2009

A victory for justice and common sense

Headline: “Supreme Court rules for white firefighters in bias case”

“A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that the city of New Haven, Conn., discriminated against white firefighters, repudiating a key decision by court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.”

The Supreme Court Decision (read it here) is a victory for the White firefighters, and a resounding defeat for the Liberals whose blind support of Affirmative Action has led them to apply race-based decisions to hiring and promotions.

But I’d like to break open the story just a bit, and provide additional support to the firefighters who passed their exams, met the requirements for promotion, but were discriminated against.
The article states that the reason why the firefighters were not promoted was because "the city rejected the test results because too many white and not enough minorities would be promoted," as mentioned by Justice Kennedy. "Without some other justification, this express, race-based decision-making violates Title VII's command that employers cannot take adverse employment actions because of an individual's race."

The New Haven officials explained their decision by blaming the exam: there must have been an inherent bias in the test that essentially victimized the Blacks and Hispanics that took the test.

I contend that this explanation does not hold water. The exam result was not an aberration: it is entirely consistent with Connecticut standardized test results in public schools.

Let me provide a disclaimer at this junction: my analysis is not a scientific study. Out of curiosity, I did what the reporters should have done; I pulled up the Connecticut State Education standardized test scores to see if the pass rate on the firefighter’s exam was grossly out of synch with education results, by ethnicity. Due to limitations on time, I could not perform an exhaustive study of all grades over multiple years. But that study should have been performed by Defense attorneys (I don’t know if it was) and by journalists who actually want to dig into stories and provide some substance. Unfortunately, most reporters lack basic curiosity and reasoning skills.

Let’s look at just one result, as a starting place for comparison.

On the Connecticut Master Test, 4th Generation for Grade 8: 2008, only 9.4% of Whites scored at or below “basic”. 16.8% scored Proficient, and 73.8% scored “at Goal” or “Advanced”. By comparison, 42.4% of Blacks scored below “proficient”, 29.3% scored proficient, and 28.3% scored “at Goal” or “Advanced”.

It is logical to assume that only the best and brightest of firemen are expected to advance to become Chiefs. Since how they perform their duties, how well they understand the laws, rules, protocols, and procedures will directly impact the safety of their crews and the public they serve, there are lives on the line. So it is also logical to assume that a great deal of the material they must master is not just firefighting methods that can be learned on the job, but also book learning that must be mastered through study. It is therefore not only conceivable, but quite logical, that a firefighter who is exceptional at a fire may not have “the right stuff” to be a chief. The individuals one would want to become a fire chief would belong to the groups that, when students, would have met or excelled at the goal scores.

The Connecticut state scores indicate that Whites excel academically at a rate greater than twice that of Blacks. If you combine “Proficient” with the “Goal and Advanced” categories, the gap narrows slightly, but still only 57.6% of Blacks scored Proficient and above combined, compared to 90.6% of Whites. (80.7% of Hispanics scored Proficient and above combined)

So, New Haven developed a written test to determine the extent of mastery of these subjects, but then balked at the results of the tests. According to the article: “The African American pass rate on the written exam was roughly half that of white applicants. …None of the top 19 scorers in the competition for captain's and lieutenant's positions were African American.”

Why is that a surprise? The test results for African Americans on the firefighter’s exam were wholly consistent with the scores of African Americans on state educational standardized tests.
Justice Kennedy astutely assessed the situation and declared: "There is no evidence that the tests were flawed."

The real failure here is the educational system that, despite decades of influence by the National Education Association, has yet to figure out how to better educate minorities. It is common knowledge that across the country, when minorities fail to meet standardized test expectations, they are “passed on” anyway. Principals regularly pressure teachers to adjust their students’ grades to allow them to graduate and keep the number of failing students at a politically acceptable level.

Sotomayor’s appeals court decision would have allowed the New Haven officials to implement a double standard. They had created a test that would have determined which applicants would have received a promotion based upon their score. But when bureaucrats decided that too many Whites had passed, these same bureaucrats would have gone back, figured out how to rig the test so that more minorities passed, and tried again.

Sotomayor’s intention, is to utilize the courts as a tool for social engineering. Just like the principals who tell their teachers to change their students’ scores, similar race-based decision by activist (possibly even racist) judges would institutionalize discrimination against citizens whose skills make them qualified for positions, but who are nevertheless disenfranchised based solely upon the color of their skin.

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