Thursday, December 29, 2016

Diversity Thursday

Now and then on DivThu, instead of raging against the dying of the light, we try to put a little light on one of the cold hard facts that are one of the real reasons that on the edge of 2017, we still do not have a Navy officer corps that "looks like America."

As we have covered through the years, there are significant problems up-stream that prevent black and "hispanic" groups from being represented in the same percentage as they are in the general population.

For officer selection, one of the primary objective criteria that will cull any pool of applicants is education. Just jumping through one gate or another isn't enough, you have to be one of the better jumpers.

If you desire an officer corps to reflect the racial and government approved ethnic group make-up of the general population, nearing the end of the second decade of the 21st Century, you need to stop putting your Diversity Stormtroopers against the armed services, but instead invest in the education of our children most in need.

Take some time to review the following from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings on improving high school and college graduation rates.

There is a reason obscene, discriminatory, racist, and soul crushing compromises are made to "make the numbers work" on the margins - it is because you don't have the same entering objective criteria.

The reasons are complicated, but are not the fault of the US Navy - much less those who self-identify as Asian, mixed race, and non-"hispanic" European who just want to serve.

Here are the pull quotes;
...according to the Digest of Educational Statistics, Asians (57 percent) and whites (40 percent) are roughly twice as likely to hold a bachelor’s degree as African Americans (27 percent) and Hispanics (20 percent). Despite recent improvements in college-going rates, the overall degree completion rates, combined with disparities in educational attainment for low-income and underrepresented populations, will impede our nation’s efforts to develop a flourishing, inclusive economy.
The opportunity gap remains one ongoing challenge. The overall increase in high school graduation rates notwithstanding, substantial racial and economic variation persist. For example, while 88 percent of white students graduate, only 73 percent of African American and 75 percent of Hispanic Americans leave school with a diploma. That means one-quarter of African and Hispanic American students have little chance of obtaining a reasonably well paying job and are effectively shut out of college.
According to Columbia University’s Community College Research Center (CCRC), 92 percent of two-year colleges and many four-year colleges use reading, writing, and math placement assessments. The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and Complete College America report that for two-year colleges, “more than 70 percent of black students and 60 percent of Hispanic students fail the assessments and enroll in at least one remedial course compared to just over 50 percent of white and Asian students.” Another CCRC report finds that 68 percent of community college students and 40 percent of open-access four-year college students are placed into remedial courses.

There are some things the Navy can do that I think everyone can support. Our enlisted ranks have greater "diversity" than the officer ranks. As we all know, we have a lot of great Sailors who just happened to grow up in poor public education systems that did not prepare them for college level work. What if we move NAPS to what it should be, a place to get sharp but mal-educated enlisted ready for USNA, instead of mostly a place to red-shirt athletes?

That sure would establish the right priority signal, wouldn't it?

Just an idea.

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