I’m driving up Fairview Rd. yesterday, past Costa Mesa High, a school in which 67% of the students failed to meet the state’s Common Core standards for Math, and 57% failed to reach them for English.

On the lighted sign outside the school, there was a message about a student who has been accepted to Stanford. Stanford is an excellent school, difficult to get into, and the student should be proud that he or she was accepted.

The problem is not the student or Stanford. The problem is the consistent double-talk from the district. The district’s recent language has dropped the “every kid has to go to college” nonsense and moved toward adding “careers” as a goal in a student’s senior year. And that’s a start, but as with so much of the past blather, it’s still hollow.

What’s missing on the street level is the sign congratulating a senior for choosing military service, particularly at a time when we are on the brink of war with a new enemy.

What’s missing on the sign is honoring a senior for not going to college so he or she can work and contribute money to the family, which is not unusual at the school. Or the student who can’t afford to go college, or who is a really good kid but just doesn’t want to go to college.

What’s missing is any decision-maker in the district who doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk, too.

Until taxpayers get some leadership, shame on the N-MUSD for continuing to contribute to the stigma of not going to college.

Steve Smith