With a new DC federal judge ruling, conversation has increased on the subject of an Obama era Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) law that called for an increase in diversity for the FAA workplace. According to the current suit against the Obama era policy, the 2013 FAA requirements were acts of discrimination that gave underrepresented groups an unfair advantage.
So what happened?
According to The Daily Signal, after the 2013 announcement for FAA changes, “the FAA notified….thousands of…applicants to become air traffic controllers their Air Traffic Selection and Training, or AT-SAT, scores were no longer valid, and they instead would have to pass a “biographical questionnaire” before being allowed to re-apply. Traditionally, the FAA gave preference to veterans, airline pilots, and individuals who passed the AT-SAT.”
The FAA based its decision on a 2013 report claiming “women and minorities were underrepresented among those successfully completing the [Air Traffic Control Specialist] Centralized Hiring Process and being hired.”
The issue caused so much controversy that Tucker Carlson of Fox News ran a segment calling the change a discriminatory act against non underrepresented groups. The Obama administration policy was aimed at increasing minority applicants by awarding more points on its “biographical questionnaire” to less qualified applicants (per old FAA requirements) “including awarding more points to individuals with a lower aptitude in science and who’d been unemployed for the previous three years.”
In addition, according to the suit, the FAA, “already had data showing the air traffic controller workforce—11.5 percent of air traffic control school enrollees were black. The suit also claimed the new policy was crafted behind the scenes with labor unions.”
On the Fox News segment, Tucker Carlson interviewed attorney Michael Pearson, “who, along with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, is handling the case on behalf of Andrew Brigida” He and Carlson argued that the decreased requirements put the safety of the national airspace at risk. The only issue is that it hasn’t.
There haven’t been any reports of more crashes or deaths due to the Obama era policy (if there were I’m sure Fox News or other conservative media would have covered it between 2013 and today), and there hasn’t been any metric proving that this policy has had a negative affect on work productivity.
And that’s why this makes this issue so complex. What happens if an industry has low levels of diversity, with requirements that discriminate against minorities and women and that requirement is taken away. This is similar to higher education policies where the floor to be accepted into a college will be a 3.0 (for example), and everyone blames Affirmative Action because an African American was accepted with a 3.2 and a white person with a 3.5 was not. If the basic requirements to successful complete a job are met between a multitude of applicants, whoever does not receive the job can cry fowl and discrimination in essence.
The argument of lowering FAA requirements can be made by some (I guess), but based on the non issue that statistics have shown, perhaps the requirements were too stringent to begin with and, as a conservative, I’m all for eliminating requirements and legislation that don’t make sense.
If statistics are shown that proves this does endanger lives then I have no problem supporting the opposite, but for now, in my opinion, this is a non issue.
Besides, President Trump and his administration can always put the requirements back in if they want.