Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 - 18:26
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 18:23
“Whenever a program is created with taxpayer dollars, the government has an obligation to continually measure the performance of that program.”--New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer
There’s a problem with validity of measures for summer job programs. A few months back, we mentioned this, arguing that much national data is skewed by the fact that it is self-reported by states which either lack good performance measures of their own, or utilize measures without consistency or sufficient guidance.
Now, along comes an audit from New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer that drives home our point. It details problems with the state’s implementation of the federal summer jobs program for youths:
"The [State Employment Training Commission] did not institute state-level performance measures, making it impossible to evaluate outcomes or determine best practices. Even the assessment of work readiness skills varied in content across the State, making it difficult to determine and compare what level of work readiness was achieved."
Basic measures, such as the cost per participant and the number of participants who obtained ongoing employment after the program, weren’t consistently compiled and assessments varied from location to location. Problems also stemmed from a lack of guidance and inconsistent program design at the federal and state levels.
Comptroller Boxer put it cogently in an accompanying press release:
“Whenever a program is created with taxpayer dollars, the government has an obligation to continually measure the performance of that program. It’s the only way to determine which programs are working, which programs need to be improved and which programs are no longer worth the taxpayer cost.”