As if it needed saying, "The Airport Control Tower Is No Place For Racial Redress" but as The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member Jason Riley exclaimed this week, that is exactly what the Obama administration appears to have done the Obama FAA grounded qualified candidates in the name of social justice.
The FAA seems to believe that having diverse air traffic controllers is more important than having good ones and seems unwilling to defend its hiring practices.
As Fox News reports, the FAA has for decades been one of the most trusted institutions in government and for good reason. Commercial air travel has been the safest in the world in part because of the FAA's high standards. But under the Obama administration that began to change radically without anybody paying attention.
Michael Pearson, an attorney suing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" host Tucker Carlson that during the Obama administration, the FAA replaced the previous hiring standards with rules designed to increase diversity among air traffic controllers.
“A group within the FAA, including the human resources function within the FAA -- the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees -- determined that the workforce was too white,” Pearson told Carlson.
“They had a concerted effort through the Department of Transportation in the Obama administration to change that.”
“This is social engineering at its finest,” he added.
The Obama administration pressured the FAA to meet abstract diversity goals. Nobody bothered to explain why diversity is a relevant criterion for air traffic controllers. No one will explain it now.
Fox News reports that, starting in 2014, the FAA added a biographical questionnaire to the application process. Applicants with a lower aptitude in science got preference over applicants who had scored excellent in science. Applicants who had been unemployed for the previous three years got more points than licensed pilots got. In other words, the FAA actively searched for unqualified air traffic controllers.
Today Fox News reports it obtained new information, it is an internal email written by an executive at the firm that devised the FAA's biographical questionnaire.
In that email, the executive admits that the test he devised has nothing to do with finding the best air traffic controllers. If you want good air traffic controllers, find people with experience, that was his advice. The FAA ignored this and used the biographical screen anyway. They appeared not to care about finding the best air traffic controllers. As Fox News notes, compared to diversity, your safety meant nothing to them.
Fox News reached out to Greg Martin, who is the FAA's top spokesman and got no answer.
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However, WSJ's Riley has a more pertinent question: "why isn’t Trump moving to reverse?"
"The most shocking thing to me is that nobody in that room when this change was decided - not the secretary of transportation, not the head of the FAA - raised his hand and said that we’re talking about airline safety here,” said William Perry Pendley of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a public-interest law firm that is representing Mr. Brigida and other plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against the federal government.
“We’re not talking about somebody driving a truck. We’re talking about somebody guiding an aircraft into snowbound Chicago.”
Equally shocking is the revelation that the Trump administration is fighting in court to preserve the Obama-era policy. Like its predecessor, this administration is ignoring the fact that thousands of people who dedicated years of their lives to getting the proper schooling - in some cases incurring significant debt - only to see the rules changed in the middle of the game. Moreover, the changes weren’t to streamline the process or improve safety but rather to achieve what the government decided (for now) is the “right” racial mix.
The Trump administration should be returning to a sensible system that prioritizes objective measures of competence. After all, being a controller means making life-or-death decisions on a regular basis. Instead, the administration has opted to preserve a policy that in practice amounts to thinly disguised discrimination in the service of boosting the number of minority air-traffic controllers.
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And finally, in case you were wondering just how racist the author of this story must be to even dare to mention the fact that the Obama administration appears to have placed diversity above passenger safety, here is WSJ's Jason Riley