Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Continuing War On Achievement

Maybe I just don't understand. Or maybe there just isn't enough information in the article. From what I'm reading here, a bunch of hack politicians took it upon themselves to be experts at examinations for adults.

They all passed a promotion exam, but the city threw out the test because no blacks would have been promoted....

This is not de facto proof, or even evidence of discrimination. It is only proof that the Blacks who took the test did not score as well as the Whites. Was it discriminatory in high school that I didn't score as well as Ruth did on a consistent basis?

Also, beneath the specific details of the firefighters' lawsuit lies an uncomfortable truth: On most standardized tests, regardless of the subject, blacks score lower than whites.

Again, passed off as "proof" of discrimination. In college, a visiting professor to my Poli Sci class, who happened to be Black, commented that there were only two choices: You believe there is discrimination, or you believe Blacks are stupid. That statement is indicative of a world-view still prevalent in this country. It is ridiculously over-simplified. Perhaps the failure of the Black community to put a premium on education has something to do with it? I'm just sayin'. There are many, many factors, both known and unknown, including institutional discrimination that may go into this. Haven't we moved past this ridiculous oversimplification yet?

Sources of bias included that the written section measured memorization rather than actual skills needed for the jobs; giving too much weight to the written section....

The implication here is simply racist. "Blacks can't memorize or write as well as Whites"? "Blacks are better at hard skills"?

Shouldn't we be holding everyone to the same standards?

Again, "I'm just sayin' "


Ordinary Jill said...

The problem is with choosing criteria on which you know blacks are likely to score lower (like standardized tests) and applying it to things that do not really require those skills. That is why so many southern states passed literacy laws for voting back in the day. Do firefighters' jobs really require the knowledge on those standardized tests? If they do, then the tests are legitimate. If they don't, then the use of those tests may very well be racial discrimination.

Deekaman said...

Jill: Are we on a level playing field or not? Your argument discusses the results of outcomes, btu does not address root cause. Why do Blacks have poorer results than Whites on standardized tests? Bias? Or culture? or something else? Should we be biasing the exam toward one group or another? Should we have a different exam for different groups? I notice nothing was said here about women. Women do learn differently from men (on the whole). Did women take the exam? How did they fare? If they did not take the exam, why not?

Last, and most important, what makes a bunch of hack politicians qualified to determine the discrimination or lack thereof in a test?