Sunday, June 3, 2018

When We Reward Failure

How much damage is diversity mongering doing? Betheny Mandel explains that lowered standards demoralize those who have worked hard to meet the normal standards. She adds that choosing people to fill diversity quotas lowers the competence level of an enterprise.

The other night Tucker Carlson pointed out that we are now going to choose air traffic controllers based on diversity. We will not privilege candidates who have experience flying planes or who have excelled at science. Anything to increase the diversity of the controllers. When you are in a plane flying into an airport you naturally care more about diversity than about your safety.

And let’s not forget the systematic dumbing down of our education system. If colleges and universities fill their classes with subpar students in order to achieve diversity, professors will be forced to dumb down the lessons, lest these subpar students all flunk out. And this without considering the cost of all those diversity administrators. The University of Michigan has a hundred full time diversity administrators—who do you think is paying for that?

Thus academic excellence and professional competence are being sacrificed on the altar of diversity. This is not going to end well.

Anyway, Mandel begins her column with a story you have heard before. A child in a New Jersey high school failed to make the cheerleading team. She was so distraught that her mother filed a complaint with the proper authorities. The school—run by weak-kneed cowards—decided to place the child on the squad. It also decided to place any child who wanted to be a cheerleader on the squad. Good-bye, competition. Other cheerleaders complained bitterly about this injustice. And, we suspect, the girl whose mother caused this ruckus was naturally ostracized in school. Great job, Mom.

Mandel tells the story:

The proverb is simple: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But a teenage girl and her mom in New Jersey figured out how to circumvent that difficult “trying” part — by whining until success was easily achieved.

At Hanover Park High School last month, a mother complained when her daughter got cut after cheerleading tryouts. Instead of telling her tough luck, the athletic director placated the mom and changed the team’s policy, allowing any wannabe cheerleader to join the squad.

Naturally this upset the kids who made the team fair and square, and they brought their grievances to the school board.

“I did not put in 18 months of work to lead up to this moment just to be told it didn’t matter anymore,” sophomore Jada Alcontara told News12 New Jersey.

Student Stephan Krueger added: “I tried my hardest. Now everything is going away because of one child who did not make the team. Now all my hard work has been thrown out the window.”

Despite its reputation, cheerleading isn’t just about shaking pompoms and yelling catchy chants. Squad members practice gymnastic maneuvers that require strength, flexibility and flair. Now there will be cheerleaders on the team who won’t possess enough of these skills, while those who do have seen their talents devalued.

Many people think this way. They do not say it because they are not allowed to say it. If you place more underachieving students in college ahead of overachieving students in order to produce diversity, the students who have been rejected will probably feel some bitterness and resentment at the injustice.

Besides, we already know that those who seem to have been admitted to college through a diversity quota are not made to feel that they belong. We see this on college campuses, but we are not allowed to talk about it. Surely the same rule applies.

What happens, Mandel continues, when fire departments hire women who cannot meet the physical standards?

Three years ago New York City’s Fire Department found out after allowing female applicant Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder to fail her way into a $81,000-a-year desk job. Firefighters fumed at the preferential treatment in an online forum. “If you can’t meet the standards, you are a danger to yourself, the public and most importantly everyone operating on the fire ground who is doing their job,” one wrote, according to The Post.

That prediction proved accurate. After just 10 days on the job, Doirin-Holder was injured while inspecting equipment in a station house, stepping off a ladder incorrectly and fracturing her foot.

It isn’t an outlier. The Marines have lowered fitness standards because women could not meet the old standards. And it is not just about physical fitness. Schools across the nation have been lowering standards in order to pass more students. Mandel explains:

When schools were unable to pass the basic proficiency tests of the No Child Left Behind law in 2002, educators simply made the tests easier over the years, allowing more kids to pass while keeping the schools’ federal funding intact. And, as of last year, teachers in New York no longer have to take a literacy test that many found too difficult. Meanwhile, in England, schools are now removing analogue clocks in exam rooms and replacing them with digital versions because students unable to read clock faces felt stressed about it.

Think of it. Today’s British schoolchildren are incapable of reading an analogue clock and were so stressed about it that the schools decided to replace them with digital clocks. Might they not have taught the children to read clock faces? Apparently, it was too stressful a chore.

And, of course, this was all initiated by the pedagogues who decided that schools should provide therapy, not education. It was produced by teachers who fed their pupils a steady diet of unearned praise, thus systematically lying to them and causing them to mistrust adult authority.

Mandel quotes Jessica Lahey, a bestselling author:

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and they know when we lower our expectations for them. When we give praise, awards or a slot on the team unearned ... they no longer trust adults to be honest and unbiased arbiters of quality. Lying to kids about the quality of their work or downgrading our expectations so as not to make kids feel bad will only result in their no longer trusting our judgment

To which Mandel sagely remarks, the children who did not earn their way or who were judged by different standards know that they are being patronized, and are less capable than the rest. Their experience is one of daily humiliation, not only because everyone knows that they do not belong, but because everyone is obligated pretend that they do. Better to pretend than to be accused of being a bigot.


David Foster said...

At lot of people who did well on the previous Air Traffic Control selection criteria...including, in some cases, attending college programs in that field...are pretty unhappy that they were excluded under the new criteria:

Apparently the elimination of the ATC college-program preference has now been revoked, not sure about the weird questionnaire. This is not much comfort, though, to those who were excluded and are now over the maximum hiring age (30).

From what I understand, the issue so far is not safety, because selected people still have to make it through the FAA Academy and also a successful apprenticeship at an actual operating facility. There does, however, seem to have been a lot of unnecessary cost, in addition to the unfairness to qualified individuals who had worked to get into the career.

Sam L. said...

Analog clocks: When will Big Ben be digitized? When will sun dials be digitized?

Dumbing down requirements is going to kill or injure people eventually. It's the progressive plan. (Have I mentioned that the word progressive reminds me of cancer?)

Ares Olympus said...

It seems like there are a number of issues here all squished together.

Like with the cheer leaders, if inclusiveness is a value, the answer is hierarchy. If there is need for status, name an "A squad" and "B squad" and then anyone can join, but you can set up different standards of achievement, so a girl with MS or some disability can still participate with her cheers, but not do the gymnastics. Everyone doesn't have to be equal. Remember there's no I in TEAM!

Shaun F said...

At our local college, three women failed their nursing exams. They threatened to file a Human Rights Complaint. The powers that be decided to pass them. At our local University - there is quibbling about the "right kind of diversity" when it comes to appointing people to faculty boards - is the person going to be a Metis or say Huron.

Sam L. said...

It's all fun and games until someone dies. Which is why air traffic controllers, doctors, nurses, EMTs, and many others need to meet the standards.

Christopher B said...

AO - Does the phrase 'seperate but equal' mean anything to you?

Anonymous said...

AO, your idealized world is one of chaos. Your armchair pronouncements fail to recognize real life. You believe in making prescriptions, without examining the consequences to normal life. I used to think this was a strange quirk you have, but it's now clear that you believe all this nonsense. Human beings are not software programs.

Anonymous said...

Participation trophies were handed out at concentration camps.

Deana said...

Shaun - are you kidding me???

This makes me so frightened. These nurses will soon be bedside and they will be making decisions about whether or not to give potent meds, how much to give, whether a doctor should be notified about something. This doesn’t work.

Sooner or later the people responsible for this blind insistence on diversity no matter what will get a dose of their own medicine. Maybe they will be on the wrong flight, or the wrong hospital bed.

On another note, does it ever occur to anyone that eventually societies who do this run up against societies that are meritocracies. You can be sure that the Chinese are not worried about diversity.

Shaun F said...

Deana - I am not kidding. A former professor at our local university that is teaching part time informed me. He also said he had to take "Gender Sensitivity" training - or something to that effect before he could teach a course as he's currently retired. New protocols.

Anonymous said...

Shaun F & Deanna,

It is even worse if one takes into consideration how the Obama administration used diversity for air traffic controllers. Now there is a real problem. Given Obama's ROE it would seem that dogma is far more important that the lives of Americans.

Deana said...

Anonymous - I would have to agree. An air traffic controller who does not know what he or she is doing could cause the death of many people all at once.

It is breathtaking when you think about it: Progressives’ tactics have so thoroughly permeated our culture and thought processes that few stop to think of the obvious consequences of giving grossly unqualified people jobs in fields in which people’s lives are at stake.

Anonymous said...

Remember. This all started with the mainstreaming of of the less-gifted into regular classrooms. They were previously known as learning impaired, and before that, in less enlightened times, as retarded. My smart nephew brought home a grade school report card that had all top marks. My brother expressed his happiness and pride at the boys achievement, to which the boy replied "Doesn't matter." My brother asked him why it wouldn't matter and he responded "Because little Suzy (not her real name) had also gotten top marks in spite of being "less-gifted " and not completing or passing most of the assignments. Because she did the best she could do.

This. At 8 years of age. He knew. So, I'm sure, did Suzy(not her real name). This happened almost 30 years ago. It is far worse now.


Anonymous said...

now you know the real reason for affirmative action.