I did a little bit of investigating (well, not that much…about 1 minutes worth!) in regards to the American Society of Civil Engineering’s (ASCE) report card that we have all come to love so much. Since it’s inception in 1988, there have been 5 complete report cards (at least that I have found) and one trend report. When growing up, I wonder if I brought home a report card this poorly, time and time again, if my parents would’ve awarded me with nice stimulus package? Ha. The only stimulus I would’ve received would have been to my backside from the likes of a wooden spoon!
Take a look:
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I know that if my kids came home with these grades one marking period, you would be darn sure you would see improvement the next. And then, as a parent, I would work with the teacher and school to learn the root of problem and then make the necessary changes that would breed long-term success. Finding short term solutions and putting a band-aid over the situation does not lead to good news down the road. Regarding our infrastructure, according to Wayne Klotz, ASCE President, we have been using band-aids, or what he refers to as the “patch-and-pray method” for too long:
I believe ASCE and its members to be an upstanding and successful organization with a lot to offer. But these thoughts have to cross your mind:
- What would happen to the civil engineering industry if all these categories were given A’s & B’s?
- Would funding for infrastructure projects disappear until lower grades were given?
- And if that was the case, would ASCE be doing their members and the industry a dis-service, by reporting anything other than a crumbling infrastructure?
- Would ASCE really mislead the government and the U.S citizens by being over-dramatic with their evaluation of the infrastructure in order to spend tax-payer money on civil engineering and infrastructure projects?
I would say, ‘probably not.’ Have you seen the news lately with the bridge collapses and the water main breaks? And of course there are all the roads and bridges and underground utilities that were built decades ago that were not meant to handle the capacity of today. Not to mention all the new environmental issues coming into play. There is an interesting point of view on this very topic that argues, though ASCE is a beneficial organization for issues like education and professional development, it is stepping out of its bounds by producing such abysmal reports and lobbying the U.S. Government for funding. To read this point of view check out this blog:
I realize that we have so much money invested in our troops in the Middle East, but with such bad report cards for over 10 years now and no apparent improvement, is ASCE not doing enough to get its point across? Or has our government just been pre-occupied with other issues? Will we likely see this same report card every four years just to keep building and re-building for the benefit of the civil engineering industry? Or are the roads and bridges and dams and airports really that bad? If by chance you do agree with the commentary from the blog that you can read via the link above, who do you believe then would be best suited to produce the Infrastructure Report Card?
What is your opinion?
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