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  #31   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 09-22-2011, 06:55 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

As an African-American I myself have never faced discrimination to my face (years ago when I went to a store with my friend after I passed by the front desk one of the clerks said to the other pointing at me "Keep an eye on that $@#$@#$@#$@#$@#$@#." He almost went over the counter after the idiot) and I do think Affirmative Action is flawed but lets not kid ourselves here,there is hatred and discrimination still in this country and in this world and it needs to be dealt with. The staus quo is all fine and dandy when it favors one group of people every time all the time but to think that the "lower classes" are just going to get tired of being second class citizens and are going to suddenly lift themselves up by the bootstraps is inane.
So to those who say that Affirmative Action is a great evil does that mean you support the staus quo or do you have something better that will cure the ills that hundreds of years of wrongdoing have caused so many who have so little to fall behind?
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Unread 09-22-2011, 07:50 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

EDIT: -SNIP- looks like this got posted earlier after all.

Now my opinion!

I think that affirmative action is the completely wrong way to go about it--as far as cuts go. I am all for targeting recruiting to certain socioeconomic groups that would not usually be interested, but I can see no way shape or form in which it would be fair to choose one candidate over another purely for their race, gender, or socioeconomic condition. As the vice president of the team, I will do everything in my power to make sure this does not happen.

Thanks everyone for your opinions, it has been really great to hear other sides of the story, as well as multiple people backing me up. Keep the opinions coming, and I'll keep you guys updated as to what ends up happening.
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Unread 09-22-2011, 08:06 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
I wouldn't give it away. I may trade it for goods or a services though. If the person with $10 had the services/goods I wanted I would provide the money to them in exchange for said items. Same with the owner of the $10 million.
Okay, let's put Madison's million dollar proposition another way. I don't have a million to give away, but I do have volunteer hours. Hundreds of them every year, freely given to an FRC team. I couldn't imagine trading this time for goods or services.

Having to reduce team size for what seems like an arbitrary reason stinks, plain and simple. My view is as a mentor though and if I had to participate in the reduction, I'd think long and hard about what kids benefit the most. Is it the kids who already know how to dedicate themselves to the cause, or is it the kids who haven't yet learned this? I don't see where ethnicity or gender would come into this thought process.

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Unread 09-22-2011, 08:41 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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The school does have a TSA option, but I don't know how much we want to form an FTC of VEX program. It doesn't really solve the funding problems. It also raises the issue of there being a higher level of the team that some people aren't on. It could even turn into an equality issue if more minorities were on the FTC team.
My team is already one of the biggest teams in MN (over 50 members last year) predicting more this year. With this in mind, we are planning to start multiple FTC teams to make sure everyone has a task to work on. (We have never done FTC before). We plan to have a few veterans lead the FTC teams, but the FTC teams will be the default placement for all freshmen who join, kind of like a Junior Varsity. Grouping FTC mainly by age prevents any attacks about equality.

If needed we will pull up a student on to the FRC team if they have certain skills that the FRC team requires. Our goal is to allow everyone join the team and feel like they are on our team while keeping them busy with meaningful tasks. The FTC teams might help in our intial design process for FRC, but we haven't really figured everything out yet.

While our teams will meet concurrently, having all the freshmen or all the new members on FTC teams could allow you to more easily meet at different times of the day so you only need 1 teacher.

In terms of money, FTC tends to be less expensive.

I hope this helps and good luck.
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Unread 09-22-2011, 09:12 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Koko Ed View Post
So to those who say that Affirmative Action is a great evil does that mean you support the staus quo or do you have something better that will cure the ills that hundreds of years of wrongdoing have caused so many who have so little to fall behind?
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Unread 09-22-2011, 10:00 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Alan Anderson View Post
Education and Opportunity. Not entitlements. Just the right not to be Kept Down by The Man.
Opportunity and entitlement is certainly a very, very fine line.

If these issues were simple enough for me to have a succinct opinion about, they wouldn't be challenging.
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Unread 09-22-2011, 11:43 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

Methinks the goal would be to equalize opportunity to succeed from the very beginning of one's life, regardless of race, gender, etc, without resorting to using race, gender, etc. as a criteria for selection.

Then again, nothing's ever that simple.
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Unread 09-23-2011, 12:35 AM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

I don't know who I heard this from, but its a brilliant idea:
  • Hold a meeting and include as many people qualified to fill the role of "extra teacher" as possible. Give a presentation and tell them what you do and how great it is.
  • Pass around a calender and ask if each teacher will sign up for a day or two to supervise.
I've been told that some teachers, after seeing what really goes on, WANTED to come more often to supervise.

This allows the teachers to help out without giving a huge time commitment. The days that don't get volunteers might require some voluntolding by high-er ups (as you mentioned this has happened before), surprise voluntolding (students asking teachers really nicely), or condensed meetings (only x amount of kids working on projects a, b, and c can come).

Solutions that don't involve barring students!
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Unread 09-23-2011, 12:52 AM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Tristan Lall View Post
The definition of "best" is at the heart of the issue. I think you're using it in terms of "most skilled"; others might interpret it as "most valuable".
Ahh, didn't catch that one, I did mean most skilled but referred to it as best. Further clouding the issue.

And I didn't think of Katie's solution, unless your school requires you to pay the teacher, see if you can get shifts setup. Maybe a teacher will sit around grading tests after their exam days that they would normally do in their office instead.
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Unread 09-23-2011, 10:11 AM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

I would ask folks to temper their discrimination concerns with the understanding that not all programs have the same goals. Madison and several others are trying to help show that some times those factors come into play more than you might think.

Both Purdue ME and a previous employer had programs that sounded really neat. You got to take products apart and reverse engineer them. The employer based one even had a competition format. The traditional "best candidate" would be someone with a ton of experience working on these sorts of things, but that was the exact opposite of the programs goals. These programs were specifically designed to help young engineers gain hands on experience. The organizers of the programs did not care who won. Their goal was to make these individuals into better engineers.
Both of these programs discriminated on age (or year in school) and experience. Groing up on a farm working on tractors, and building cars during afterschool projects actually made me a poor candidate for the program as I had those experiences already.
There were also a lot of older engineers I felt should have gone through the program, but the company wanted to invest in those they may get the most return on, which were not the folks ready to retire.

If your goal is to win matches... Pick the most capable candidate. If your goal is to change lives... Sometimes you pick those that need the most change. Different teams have different goals and different measures of success. Often it is not about how many points made on the scoreboard, but the points you have made in the students mind (compassion, sportmanship, professionalism, work ethic....).
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Unread 09-23-2011, 10:53 AM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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Originally Posted by IKE View Post
I would ask folks to temper their discrimination concerns with the understanding that not all programs have the same goals. Madison and several others are trying to help show that some times those factors come into play more than you might think.

Both Purdue ME and a previous employer had programs that sounded really neat. You got to take products apart and reverse engineer them. The employer based one even had a competition format. The traditional "best candidate" would be someone with a ton of experience working on these sorts of things, but that was the exact opposite of the programs goals. These programs were specifically designed to help young engineers gain hands on experience. The organizers of the programs did not care who won. Their goal was to make these individuals into better engineers.
Both of these programs discriminated on age (or year in school) and experience. Groing up on a farm working on tractors, and building cars during afterschool projects actually made me a poor candidate for the program as I had those experiences already.
There were also a lot of older engineers I felt should have gone through the program, but the company wanted to invest in those they may get the most return on, which were not the folks ready to retire.

If your goal is to win matches... Pick the most capable candidate. If your goal is to change lives... Sometimes you pick those that need the most change. Different teams have different goals and different measures of success. Often it is not about how many points made on the scoreboard, but the points you have made in the students mind (compassion, sportmanship, professionalism, work ethic....).
Then that isn't affirmative action. That is having a certain set of criteria. To me affirmative action has been having a different set of criteria for two otherwise identical applicants. Take me and my hypothetical twin, we both have a degree, same family, same life experiences.

Let's assume that we have the same GPA and did everything together so have the same level of experience. You can only hire one of us. If you decide that my twin gets the job because she is female I object to that.

Now, if you have a person identical to me in every way except they don't have any experience with FIRST I have no objection to them being chosen for a team over me if your criteria are to impact the lives of your students.

For the most part I'm fine with teams choosing whatever criteria they want (I'm a pizza kind of guy, put whatever you want on yours but don't tell me what to put on mine). The extent of this is when a team says "we only want girls" or "we only want students from X ethnicity" and turn away otherwise qualified applicants who have no where else to go.

That being said, I'm a middle class white male so my opinions on anything dealing with racism or sexism are immediately based on ignorance. (Thank you Social Psychology professor for THAT line)
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Unread 09-23-2011, 01:39 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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Originally Posted by Talks Too Much View Post
Absolutely not. I'm a girl, and I would not at all like that I may have been chosen for a spot over someone more fitting, simply because I lacked a y chromosome.
I completely agree. Our team went through something similar a few years ago. One student thought that was why a female student got a position over them. This was not at all true, but its really hurt the girl's feelings.
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Unread 09-23-2011, 03:48 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

If all of my criteria are truly equal, what would be an acceptable differentiator to use? Should I have the two of you guys arm wrestle? Staring match? Generally the issue arises where the "discriminating factor" weighting allows for the otherwise most qualified candidate to be passed up.
For instance, bumping the "3rd" most qualified applicant up to #1 due to some other factor.
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Unread 09-23-2011, 04:08 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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If all of my criteria are truly equal, what would be an acceptable differentiator to use? Should I have the two of you guys arm wrestle? Staring match? Generally the issue arises where the "discriminating factor" weighting allows for the otherwise most qualified candidate to be passed up.
For instance, bumping the "3rd" most qualified applicant up to #1 due to some other factor.
Personality? Punctuality? Best fit for the environment?
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Unread 09-23-2011, 04:18 PM
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Re: Does Affirmative Action fit under the values of FIRST

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Originally Posted by IKE View Post
If all of my criteria are truly equal, what would be an acceptable differentiator to use? Should I have the two of you guys arm wrestle? Staring match? Generally the issue arises where the "discriminating factor" weighting allows for the otherwise most qualified candidate to be passed up.
For instance, bumping the "3rd" most qualified applicant up to #1 due to some other factor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
Personality? Punctuality? Best fit for the environment?
This. Compatible personalities can make a less qualified or less skilled team more effective.
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