Is the EEOC trying to do us all a favor by making the Department of Education irrelevant?  Or is it just providing another example of government over-reach and one hand not knowing what the other is up to?  With it’s recent letter to employers warning that requiring a high school diploma may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, we once again have the government telling employers who they can hire and under what conditions, with the implied threat of litigation.  Do we really wonder why people aren’t hiring?  This letter may not be the cause of the better than 8.5% unemployment we have now, but it shows the type of environment businesses in this country have to operate under.

It only has value if you can read least for now.

If the learning disabled cannot attain a high school diploma, the job in question must show that the requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity or discrimination is the result.  Who gets to decide if the requirement is “job related and consistent?” The employer?  The job seeker?  The gubmint?  And what, pray tell, does this mean for the lofty goal of attaining a high school diploma in the future? The EEOC doesn’t think its letter of “advice”  would discourage people from getting a diploma and feels that people are “aware that they need all the education they can get.”  Apparently that includes so many small businesses struggling with the myriad of complex EEOC regulations that the EEOC announced the launch of a task force to help business understand how to achieve compliance.  No word on whether or not they’ll give diplomas though.

Interesting.  Just as keeping score in elementary soccer games went by the wayside to protect the self esteem of our vulnerable young, keeping score in high school education is heading down the same “everyone gets a trophy for showing up” mentality.  The unintended result; everyone who wants a diploma one will get one.  That’s the only fair thing to do.  If little Johnny is learning disabled, then darn it, he should get a diploma just like everyone else.  I had a real hard time with physics and economics.  Probably kept me from getting a good SAT score, limiting my ability to get into some of the higher priced colleges.  Who do I sue?

Granted, there are jobs which certainly don’t require a depth of knowledge, say pushing a broom, scooping ice cream or scrubbing floors (not to denigrate anyone who pushes, scoops or scrubs).  But the high school diploma was always the minimum evidence of someone who could be committed to a task, showing at least a marginal ability to follow rules and instructions, and hopefully make correct change.  If I want to hire someone to sweep the office, I’d like a little proof that they are willing to show up and can understand the concept of responsibility. Outside of that, I don’t care if they can do differential equations or quote Plato.

It won’t be long before someone sues over this.  And soon, no one will be required to show a diploma, or there will be no value in attaining one because everyone will get one.  Because not providing one will prompt the next EEOC warning.  Will they send a “letter of advice” to the Department of Education?