Monday, November 01, 2010

Memo to Judge Garaufis

We have been commenting on the inane and arbitrary rulings by federal judge Nicholas Garaufis on the hiring practices of the FDNY-rulings that, if followed, would create a politically correct nightmare for the department. One of the main points that we have made is how indefensible it is for the judge to conclude that, just because minorities are scoring lower on the department's written test-a test that is constructed by outside consultants-the test must therefore be, ipso facto, discriminatory.

Now, underscoring the stupidity of the judge's biased views, we have the following story from the Washington Post (via Contentions) about the minority recruitment difficulties experienced by an elite Virginia high school: "The curriculum is rigorous (its college-level courses are not offered at regular high schools), and the workload is grueling. The Post’s beef is that “diversity is not working”:

[African American students] amount to less than 1 percent of the Class of 2014 at the selective public school in Fairfax County, regarded as among the nation’s best. “It’s disappointing,” said Andrea Smith, the club’s faculty sponsor. “But you work with what you got.” The count of Hispanic freshmen is not much higher: 13. Years of efforts to raise black and Hispanic enrollment at the regional school have failed, officials acknowledge. The number of such students admitted has fallen since 2005."

Or, in other words, the FDNY is-unlike the judge-dealing in the real world where disparate outcomes on standardized tests are, unfortunately, the norm: "There are two major reasons. Admissions decisions are generally made without regard to race or ethnicity, despite a policy meant to promote diversity. And initiatives to enlarge the pipeline of qualified black and Hispanic students in elementary and middle school have flopped."

Given these, at least so far, immutable facts, on what basis can Garaufis claim that the FDNY is purposefully discriminating against minority applicants? The judge needs to get out of his isolation booth and breathe the outside air-but, to be fair, he is not alone in his prejudicial views: "To be clear: admissions are made without regard to race, and the school makes every effort to ferret out every qualified minority student in the district. There are plenty of Asian students. But there are only a few African Americans and Hispanics who can meet the school’s standards. That is defined as a failure — by the school. What the Post and the controversial ex-admissions director (whose championing of diversity at the price of maintaining standards of excellence met with a furious backlash) are upset about is that, without quotas, there aren’t “enough” African Americans and Hispanics (that is, enough minority students proportionate to their percentages in the population."

Sound familiar? But, as Contentions points out the failure here is not-as is true of the FDNY-the schools: "There is no lack of mentoring and assistance programs for minority students. The results are not a sign of failure by the school. They are, to be blunt, a sign that students and their parents in certain ethnic and racial groups are not matching the effort and the output of those from other groups. The results should be a warning signal not to the school but to those parents and children. You want to join the elite of the elite? Work as hard, place a priority on academic achievement, and make use of the ample resources in the public schools to promote success."

Repeat this message to the Vulcan Society. We'll give Contentions the last word: "The left considers “bad” numbers a sign that our institutions are biased or haven’t done enough. Maybe it’s time to ask the parents and students {and FDNY applicants} to do more."