Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Promote Racial Diversity Fairly

Cynthia Tucker, editor and columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote the above titled column that you may find at this link. Interestingly, by the time it appeared in the SF Chronicle, it had been retitled "Achieving Racial Diversity Requires Top-Down Competence."

Since this blog is about examining, I was particularly interested in the following paragraph:

To begin with, New Haven shouldn’t have staked firefighters’ promotions largely on the outcome of a classroom test; there are far better ways to determine leadership skills in a fire department. Many departments test prospective leaders by running simulations of real-life scenarios. After all, giving correct answers on a pencil-and-paper test hardly proves the capacity to lead the rescue of workers trapped in a burning building.

It could well be argued that the mini-sermon in the MFC interview is a simulation of a real-life scenario. What would such simulations be for chaplains? spiritual directors? pastoral counselors?

1 comment:

  1. We like simple answers. We, human beings. But we Americans are -- I think... in my experience -- particularly prone to this. Simple. And... often simplistic.

    Drug testing is an example. Now rampant (aimlessly, pointlessly so), it began with justifications about people who were in dangerous jobs, jobs that could have other people's lives at risk--airline pilots, people working with explosives, etc.

    Made sense.

    Only... simply. Simplistically.

    Drug tests created a Big Brother Is Watching You atmosphere. I know, I watched it occur in a defense industry plant where some people worked with large quantities of explosives. But they tested everyone. Photographers. Secretaries.

    And... even so, we have -- in recent history -- airline pilots who've drunk too much, far too recently to fly safely... flying.

    The tests didn't do the job. But they did let Big Brother in.

    In Canada, they opted to not test pilots -- though I believe they caved under extreme pressure from the US gov't. But the point was that the testing created the wrong atmosphere and didn't really solve the problem. It didn't keep people from taking drugs and flying, or drinking and flying. It simply made it Russian Roulette--sooner or later, you'd be caught... if you did.

    Far saner would be a simple program of testing reaction times and responses and problem solving. Simply make any pilot who's going on duty pass a randomized test of reactions and solutions.

    If they fail... well, they ought not be flying. Maybe it's just today. Slept poorly, or have problems at home, or an emotional trauma--a death in the family, or... who knows? Maybe drinking. Maybe drugs.

    But the public would actually be protected from people who aren't *functionally* able to do their jobs safely, regardless of the reason. And those filtered could seek assistance, or counseling, or...

    But we in the US designed a dysfunctional system that didn't really serve the purpose--and was designed to be punitive--and... was simple.

    The same concerns certainly OUGHT to be foremost in the design of MFC process. Not does someone in the spotlight of testing perform well...