Sunday, November 29, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Great news - an order was published today and "The New Haven 20" are to be officially promoted. It took six long years and a trip to the Supreme Court but equality before the law was upheld. There will be more on this in another post, but for now say a prayer of thanks.
The promotion ceremony will tke place on Wednesday, December 2nd at 3:30 PM at the New Haven Regional Fire Training Academy, located at 230 Ella T. Grasso Blvd., New Haven Connecticut.
The New Haven 20 have been very supportive of the FDNY and of Merit Matters, as well. A large turnout would be very much appreciated by them. Class A uniforms should be worn.
Paul D. Mannix
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Back in May of 2007, FDNY Captain Paul Washington said that the FDNY’s promotion exams were “pretty fair,” allowing black firefighters to advance, but the problem was “getting in the front door.”From the Chief-Leader (June 1, 2007):
“Paul Washington (left), the former president of the FDNY Vulcan Society, tells reporters that promotion tests are 'pretty fair' and allow black firefighters to advance; 'the problem is getting in the front door' due to entry exams the organization believes are biased. Looking on is current Vulcan Society head John Coombs.”
Captain Washington’s explanation of why he feels the FDNY’s written entrance exams are unfair is summed up by his statement to CBS News;
"The guy who gets the 99 or 100 on a test isn't going to be any better than the guy who gets the 80 or 75. The fire department knows that, the mayor's office knows that, everybody does," Washington adds. "They should not use that test as a barometer on who's going to get on the job or not."
“As an example, the test given to applicants in 1999 showed that African Americans accounted for only 10 percent of test-takers and 7 percent of test-passers, compared to whites, who were 75 percent of test-takers and 78 percent of test-passers.”
From an interview with CBS Newshttp://wcbstv.com/seenon/fdny.department.of.2.243776.html?detectflash=false
So apparently, according to Captain Paul Washington (the previous President of the Vulcan Society) some tests are “fair” and reliable, while others not?Does that make any sense?The Chief-Leader newspaper said this, “The Vulcan Society, led by Fire Capt. Paul Washington, has long contended that the multiple-choice exam has a disparate impact on black candidates, who historically don't perform as well on standardized exams as whites and other groups,” back in October of 2006.SEE: http://www.thechief-leader.com/news/2006-10-27/news/011.html
If standardized exams discriminate against blacks, how are the standardized promotion exams any more “fair” than the entrance exam?
It just doesn’t make any sense.
And again, why can no one seem to explain how standardized written exams applied equally to all, “discriminate” against any ethnic group?
Which questions are “biased,” exactly? What facts, or subjects “discriminatory?”
How can the media take on faith an assertion like, “the multiple-choice exam has a disparate impact on black candidates, who historically don't perform as well on standardized exams as whites and other groups” and still claim, with a straight face that they don’t subscribe to the theories they claim to revile about race and intelligence.
Again, it just doesn’t make any sense.
By Captain Washington’s own accounting, in the last few exams, “African Americans accounted for only 10 percent of test-takers and 7 percent of test-passers, compared to whites, who were 75 percent of test-takers and 78 percent of test-passers.” Captain Washington suggests that having family on that job (as he did), is one of the only ways one would know how great a job that is. If that's the case, and I'm not sure it is, then that's also the case for virtually EVERY career path!
Why do so few African-Americans take this exam? They are approximately 23% of New York City’s population and only 10% of the test takers?
By Captain Washington’s own accounting, the vast majority of blacks pass these entrance exams, with a better than 70% passing rate.
Is the fact that more College-educated whites are competing, itself a form of “racism” or bigotry?
Again, this just doesn’t make any sense.There is another fatal flaw in the convoluted logic of the opponents of standardized written entrance exams and that’s the idea that “No one asks a lawyer what he/she got on the Law Boards, or what an Accountant got on the arduous, four-part CPA exam, so why should Civil Service Entrance exams be held to a rank ordering not employed in those fields?”
On the surface that sounds like a very reasonable question. It is not.Look, the reason why lawyers and CPAs aren’t rank ordered according to their test scores is because by the time those professionals get to take those exams, both the unqualified and the minimally qualified have already been eliminated by the process of getting through a specified (and in the case of accounting and engineering, a very arduous) College curriculum and in the case of lawyers and physicians, yet another arduous application process to more advanced and specified education.
By the time any of those professionals are eligible to take those exams, the vast majority of those initially interested, although lesser qualified, have already been eliminated from serious consideration.
The application process for Municipal Civil Service positions is virtually open to all, with the exception of those who don’t possess a High School diploma or GED, or have felony convictions...that’s an extremely low bar.
Given that any and every employer has the right to get the best bang for their buck...the most qualified, rather than having to accept a workforce of minimally qualified, such exams serve the purpose of providing the only way to measure prospective applicants against each other based on the skills needed to do those jobs.
Basic reading comprehension and the ability to understand written and verbal directions and follow them are essential to jobs like firefighting and police work.
The idea that exams that test these criteria, are discriminatory because they’ve resulted in a “disparate impact,” really just doesn’t make any sense.