testingFAA helped “off the street” applicants cheat on tests in bid to diversify air traffic controllers

A top Obama administration official has resigned after his agency hired dangerously unqualified air traffic controllers because there were too many qualified white applicants.

A Fox Business investigation found the FAA manipulated the entry test to become an air traffic controller so “off the street” applicants with no experience could pass it. FAA employees also helped unqualified applicants cheat on the test, in order to make the pool of air traffic controllers more diverse.
As a result, millions of Americans flew on planes directed by controllers with no experience or who cheated on the application test, placing lives in danger.

After the scheme was made public by Fox Business’, Joseph Teixeira, the FAA’s Vice President, Safety and Technical Training Air Traffic Organization, resigned.

Michael Douglas was perfect for the job of air traffic controller.  He earned a perfect score on the eight-hour long Air Traffic Selection and Training exam.  He graduated from the FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative program, which has hiring preference.

Douglas was easily as qualified an applicant for air traffic controller could be.  He was rated “Well Qualified,” which the FAA considers the best of the best.

But he was denied the job after failing the Obama Administration’s new “Biographical Questionnaire” or “BQ.”

The Obama Administration had changed the test to include questions like “How would you describe your ideal job?” and “How many high schools sports did you play?” to allow “off the street” people to pass it.

Obama’s new test to become an air traffic controller is taken at home, without supervision.

Fox Business reports:

Just as Matthew Douglas prepared for a new year and a new life, the FAA dropped a bomb.  On December 30, 2013 the FAA threw out his AT-SAT score, CTI diploma and recommendations from his CTI program administrators. In fact, the FAA threw out the AT-SAT scores and CTI qualifications  of an estimated 3000 CTI graduates and military veterans who were all previously designated “well qualified” to become air traffic controllers.  The FAA told them all to start over.  But this time, when they applied for a job, their college degrees and previous military experience would mean nothing. They would now compete with thousands of people the agency calls “off the street hires”; anyone who wants to, can walk in off the street without any previous training and apply for an air traffic control job.  The FAA’s only requirements, to apply, are be a U.S. citizen, have a high school diploma, speak English and pass the FAA’s new BQ, Biographical Questionnaire.  What Douglas and thousands of other CTI graduates didn’t know was that the FAA was planning these changes long before the agency made them public…

…The FAA made those changes based on a barrier analysis started in 2012 which identified, “… four of seven decision points in the air traffic controller hiring process that resulted in adverse impact to applicants from at least one demographic group.” In other words, the agency’s analysis determined there were barriers for minority applicants to obtain the FAA’s air traffic control jobs.  The FAA then hired Atlanta based APT Metrics to further analyze those barriers and recommend solutions.  APT Metrics issued its report, Extension to barrier Analysis of Air Traffic Control Specialist Centralized Hiring Process on April 16, 2013.  It says that while the CTI schools appear to be a preferred applicant source, the program “…tends to have very little diversity.”  This is a conclusion the Association of Collegiate Training Institutions, a group representing the 36 CTI schools, fiercely disputes.

Even with the test changed to allow “off the street” people to earn higher scores than qualified applicants, FAA employees still supplied the answers to certain applicants.

The Fox Business investigation also included shocking claims from Moranda Reilly.

Reilley scored 86 on her test — lower than Douglas but still highly qualified.

Just before she was set to take the BQ, she joined the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees.

That’s when the president of the NBCFAE’s Washington Suburban Chapter, Shelton Snow, sent her and other black applicants this text mesage:

“I know each of you are eager very eager to apply for this job vacancy announcement and trust after tonight you will be able to do so….there is some valuable pieces of information that I have taken a screen shot of and I am going to send that to you via email.  Trust and believe it will be something you will appreciate to the utmost.  Keep in mind we are trying to maximize your opportunities…I am going to send it out to each of you and as you progress through the stages refer to those images so you will know which icons you should select…I am about 99 point 99 percent sure that it is exactly how you need to answer each question in order to get through the first phase.”

Snow was giving black applicants the answer key so they could cheat on the exam.

He even offered to have “one of my HR representatives” check their tests and give them “the opportunity to sign off on it before you actually click it.”

Snow followed with another text:

“People have been getting rejection notices and those rejection notices have been coming after about 24 to 36 hours after clicking submit and I want to avoid that so what we are going to do is we are going to take our time and we’re going to make sure that everything we click on, and you going to even have to go back to your resume and make some changes because one of our members and I have caught something and we want to go back and want to fine tune those details…”

Reilly, who refused to cheat, failed the BQ.

“I want to talk about it because I joined the NBCFAE and when I saw what was going on, I knew that I had to stand on the right side of the fence,” she said.

Douglas, Reilly, and other qualified applicants denied jobs are suing the FAA.

“You had social engineering in my belief, my opinion, going on,” says their attorney Michael Pearson, himself a former air traffic controller.

“It was driven by two arms of the FAA, two different organizations.  One was a human resources group and I believe there was another group for different motives were engaging in what I believe is discrimination against qualified candidates,” said Pearson.

As a result of the cheating and manipulated tests, millions of Americans have been flying on planes directed by people who are not qualified for the job.

Congress may investigate.

“The resignation of the FAA’s Vice President of Safety and Technical Training is only the latest in a line of FAA employees who have left the agency under a cloud of alleged cheating surrounding the tainted BQ test,” said a statement from Congressman Randy Hultgren, a member of the House Transportation Committee which oversees the FAA.

“Yet the FAA has remained disturbingly quiet on employee conduct, providing little detail on internal investigations. Only a congressional hearing will force the FAA to answer publicly for their actions-it’s time to bring FAA officials before the American people,” said Hultgren.