Monday, June 15, 2009

Gundecking diversity at Annapolis

I've had to move things around a bit this morning. My commentary on the CNO's Battle of Midway speech has been moved to WED AM to make room for something that just cannot wait for Diversity Thursday.

One of my spies tipped me off to this yesterday and it simply has to be given above the fold treatment on HighTrafficMonday.

Do you remember Professor Bruce Fleming from Annapolis - we had a little fun with him last month. He comes out with an absolute powerhouse of an OP-ED in the Annapolis paper, The Capital.

We have all been flooded by the hype and hyper INFO OPS campaign about the new crop of Plebes.

Enough of the spin, time for some truth. Read it all - but here is the meaty bits.

A "diverse" class does not mean the Naval Academy recruits violinists, or older students (they can't be 23 on Induction Day), or gay people (who are thrown out) or foreign students (other than the dozen or so sent by client governments).

It means applicants checked a box on their application that says they are Hispanic, African American, Native American, and now, since my time on the Admissions Board of the Academy, where I've taught for 22 years, Asians.

Midshipmen are admitted by two tracks. White applicants out of high school who are not also athletic recruits typically need grades of A and B and minimum SAT scores of 600 on each part for the Board to vote them "qualified." Athletics and leadership also count.

A vote of "qualified" for a white applicant doesn't mean s/he's coming, only that he or she can compete to win the "slate" of up to 10 nominations that (most typically) a Congress(wo)man draws up. That means that nine "qualified" white applicants are rejected. SAT scores below 600 or C grades almost always produce a vote of "not qualified" for white applicants.

Not so for an applicant who self-identifies as one of the minorities who are our "number one priority." For them, another set of rules apply. Their cases are briefed separately to the board, and SAT scores to the mid-500s with quite a few Cs in classes (and no visible athletics or leadership) typically produce a vote of "qualified" for them, with direct admission to Annapolis. They're in, and are given a pro forma nomination to make it legit.

Minority applicants with scores and grades down to the 300s with Cs and Ds (and no particular leadership or athletics) also come, though after a remedial year at our taxpayer-supported remedial school, the Naval Academy Preparatory School.

All this is probably unconstitutional. That's what the Supreme Court said about the University of Michigan's two-track admissions in 2003.

Once at Annapolis, "diverse" midshipmen are over-represented in our pre-college classes, in lower-track courses, in mandatory tutoring programs and less challenging majors. Many struggle to master basic concepts. (I teach some of these courses.)

Of course, some minority students are stellar, but they're the exception. Despite being dragged toward the finish line, minorities graduate at about a 10 percent lower rate than the whole class, which of course includes them (so the real split is greater).

Don't want to believe me? Have a lawyer sit in on a year's worth of Admissions Board deliberations. Or better still, pray that one of the stellar white students rejected to give a seat to a "diverse" candidate sues us. That's the only way taxpayers will ever fully understand the price to them of "putting diversity first."
Show your support for Professor Fleming. Follow the link to the OP-ED, register, and comment. After you register you can rate the comments. Through Sunday, I could already see the Diversity Bullies trying to spike supportive comments with negative ratings on supporting comments. Show your support. Register and vote on comments.

If you like the cut of his jib, visit his
website here. If you are interested in his books, you can find links to them there or at the widget below, or here.

As I have stated before when it comes to double standards, there is also a fair bit of intellectual cowardice and professional buck-passing by leadership for not having one standard for all. Those who thrive on their Diversity fetish can preen about their entrance numbers - damn the consequences for the individuals and institution. You can fudge a lot of things, but when people get to the fleet, especially in low margin for error areas - eventually people will have to perform.

When as a group you do not come in with a equal set of tools as everyone else, you won't perform as well as a group either. You won't get ranked as high as a group. You will wash out at a higher rate as a group. The individuals hurt most are the ones who were given special treatment in the first place - they will have wasted years pursuing a career they never had a chance to excel in compared to their peers.

When we get to that point, do you have a right to accuse a CO of racism because his minority officers, on average, take longer to qualify and have a higher wash-out rate? Or, do you force him to push his problem on to the next UIC? The road to h3ll is paved with good intentions.

The one of the most injured parties however, are those who could enter and qualify on their own merits regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin. They will forever be tainted by the paternalistic racism that is a double standard. They will always know that most will wonder if they got in on their own merits or were given special consideration based on nothing but their genetic background. That is the tragedy of affirmative discrimination. Almost as bad as those who are not selected in the zero-sum-game that is admissions, simply because of their genetic background.

For an institution that likes to think of itself as a meritocracy, this dual track system is a great shame on us all.

Professor Fleming is speaking for those who cannot. Watch, learn, and if you are in a position, support. Facts and truth are rare and precious things. The Diversity Brown Shirts will be coming after him with renewed vigor. Once again, show him the support he deserves.

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