My kids bring their interim reports home from school this Friday, and I'm expecting to see a few low grades working their way a bit higher. I'm trying to get my son and daughter to understand that everything counts. Falling behind in the routine, like not turning in homework assignments, will torpedo their grades as surely as if they didn't prepare for a test. And not preparing for tests, regardless of how well they think they already know the subject matter, will inevitably come back to bite them.
Unfortunately, another report came home today, and the grades didn't improve. CBF released its annual State of the Bay report, an index of 13 indicators of the Bay's health. This year the Bay brought home a disappointing grade of "D." Not a single indicator improved from last year, and three dropped still further. If my son brought that report card home he'd lose Playstation privileges for a month.
It's not just the grade. If my son or daughter is getting low grades because they are having difficulty with the subject I know that's something we can work on together. But if the grades reflect work that just isn't being done or effort that just isn't being exerted, that's unacceptable.
That's what makes this year's State of the Bay report so frustrating--it doesn't reflect a lack of skill, it reflects a lack of will.
At a press conference this morning, CBF President Will Baker put it this way:
"The Chesapeake Bay Program has been acclaimed as a model federal/state partnership. Unfortunately, the federal participation has been a model of failure under this administration. While our governors and legislators at the state and federal level have achieved important victories in recent years, the Bush Administration has made no contribution toward the pollution reduction goals in the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement. In fact, they have issued regulations that allow coal fired power plants to continue to spew mercury and nitrogen when this should have been prohibited under the Clean Air Act long ago. And while the states have increased funding to improve sewage treatment, President Bush has cut funding."
Science has given us the plan we need to turn things around. Our elected officials need to act on it.
On Wednesday, the Chesapeake Executive Council will meet to evaluate the state of the Bay. We are asking them to publicly announce timetables for the programs they will implement to complete their commitments. Will they chose to continue the politics of postponement or will they take action to save the Bay?