Monday is Memorial Day when we honor all military members who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Unfortunately, the Army just lowered its physical fitness standards, a move critics say will get more U.S. soldiers killed.
Too many women were failing the physical fitness test under so-called “gender-neutral” standards, meaning identical requirements for men and women. So the Army reinstated sex-norming, creating a different test with lower standards for women and older men. They have to pick up less weight and get more time to complete a run. Senator Tom Cotton called the new test a “fiasco” that will “get people killed.”
That may be an overstatement, because the new test just measures basic physical fitness and does not change the additional requirements for combat roles or specialized jobs. However, there is already indication that’s what’s coming next. Earlier this year, a whistleblower accused the Air Force of fudging physical fitness standards for a female candidate so she could make it through Special Tactics training. Senator Cotton and other critics have a point when they highlight the Pentagon’s preoccupation with ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ and ‘fairness’ for women. How would you like to be in combat alongside someone who you know didn’t really meet the standards to be there?
Lowering standards in the name of diversity or some other value is also going on outside the military. Critics say the preoccupation with diversity has damaged science and will ultimately mean fewer scientific discoveries in the future. Democrats in Maryland want to keep police from removing homeless camps on public property. Critics say the bill encourages law-breaking and vagrancy.
But nowhere is the lowering of standards more apparent than in education.
California is taking another stab at Woke Math which, like the first version, still lowers standards in the name of promoting racial justice and equal outcomes.
The California University System wants to do away with grades because students don’t all start in the same place and ‘equity’ must be served.
‘Equity’ was the battle cry of a high school principal in San Diego who eliminated racial disparities in honors classes by doing away with the classes altogether. Who did this hurt? Minority students who excel and will now have a harder time getting into top schools.
Some high schools in Colorado are doing away with class valedictorians. Learning is not a competition, they say, and all students can learn at high levels. Following that logic, they should make every student valedictorian. Beats a participation trophy, doesn’t it?
The American Bar Association wants to do away with the LSAT law school entrance exam to increase diversity. That’s funny. MIT is bringing back standardized testing requirements to find talent and identify disadvantaged students, who with a little help, could be ready for MIT.
Georgetown Law, my alma mater, is changing its Property class to focus on structural racism and cultural appropriation. Good luck passing the bar exam or serving your clients well if all you know is a bunch of Woke drivel.
A Seattle school has a new disciplinary policy which considers race when handing out punishments for breaking the rules. Critics say this will lead to whites being punished more frequently and severely so the schools can even up the numbers of each racial group getting disciplined.
Thanks to new race-based admissions policies, Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia – formerly one of the top high schools in the country – is now reduced to offering remedial education and tutoring at the 8th-grade level to entering students. TJ used to be an elite school for smart kids. No more.
Students benefit more from higher expectations than from lower standards, including minority and low-income students. That’s a fact. So, when Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke tells you lowering standards is essential for promoting diversity in college classrooms, she is leading you astray.
As the stories I’ve told you today show, the mindless preoccupation with diversity is a good way to damage science, hold minorities back from being all they can be and, maybe, even get soldiers killed. If we did a poll, I bet we would get a lot of support for lowering standards if diversity is the only goal. But if we changed the poll question to ‘do you support an exclusive focus on diversity given all the drawbacks that will have and all the damage it will do,’ I bet support would drop significantly. It’s easy to say ‘I want free ice cream,’ but not so easy when you factor in rotten teeth and expensive trips to the dentist. It’s time to end the exclusive preoccupation with diversity and bring things into better balance. MIT is showing the way.