What A Waste

RANT DAY!

I’m driving around from one job to another along So Cal’s congested interstate highway system the other day. Semi distracted by the idiot drivers in front of me, I almost missed the CalTrans (California Transportation) sign at the entrance to the exit.

“This exit will be closed intermittently between January 20, 2006 and October 31, 2008.”

Basically, it is stating that in an almost 3 year period, the exit will be closed sometimes. Now I have to ask myself, “How this is useful to drivers? Informative to whom? Why even waste the money to make up the sign?”

I should think making up a sign for the times it will actually be closed would both indicate a more organized CalTrans department and a be a more informative public service announcement. Put it up a month ahead of the closure then close the exit when stated. This way the sign does not become part of the landscape over time.

In another vein of waste not, want not, I was reading the other day about the changes about to be implemented in the No Child Left Behind laws. Schools across the nation were (surprisingly!) fudging the graduation figures. The whole intent of the law was to help improve performance in primary and secondary education. Improvements would be measured by the standardized tests issued throughout the grades, and also by the high school graduation rate.

Besides the controversy stating NCLB doesn’t educate kids, but instead only teaches them to test-take, the formulas the schools themselves were using to calculate graduation rates varied. And were often an inaccurate indicator of what’s going on in the education system today. North Caroline was looking pretty good with a 95% graduation rate, until it was discovered the formula calculated how many enrolled 12th graders graduated. If they used the new formula, which counts the number of 9th graders that graduated as 12th graders, the graduation rate dropped to 68%. Which means 32% of the freshmen are not graduating. While some can be attributed to students relocating to other schools, most are dropouts.

Which brings me to Rant #2.

Why waste the money, the time and the effort of trying to improve education if the results of the efforts are going to be obscured in fudged reports? What is the point of implementing a program to help children, then cover up the fact that it is not helping at all? How do you make informed decisions for changes and improvements?

Whose side is NCLB on?

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3 Responses to What A Waste

  1. Earla says:

    So much truth in what you said / observed. ..and trust me – the schools do “teach to the test” to get the grades for the school that they want. Not that the kids are actually learning so much more – but they are sure tested much more than I ever remember. Sydney (2nd grade) gets at least 3 tests a week -but more like 5 – 7 normally. So much fun!

  2. Karen says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what highway signs have to do with grade school kids education.

  3. Mikki says:

    Karen – Road signs and education are united in their commonality of waste! And pissing me off!

    I read about the NCLB the next morning after driving around looking at CalTrans road signs.

    Made for good reading though, didn’t it!

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