To the Office of my Public Official: CLARB

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE To the Office of my Public Official: CLARB

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  • #154700
    temp impact
    Participant

    To the Office of my Public Official,

    Landscape Architecture candidates country-wide have been deceived. The non-profit organization the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) has decided to “restructure” their exam. During this process hundreds (if not thousands) of candidates lost exam credit and money they had dedicated toward earning a license to practice Landscape Architecture. I alone have lost close to $5000.00 because of CLARB’s restructuring. Meanwhile CLARB continues dodging all of my questions, while pretending to provide acceptable responses.

    Now, candidates are trying to identify who is responsible for miscommunications, and for the decision to make money and credit disappear. We have a signed written letter from CLARB stating that the State is to blame for miscommunications. We have been in contact with members of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the Office of the Inspector General. None of these Departments can tell us who (with the State) is responsible for regulating the contract that CLARB has with the State. Each Department, along with CLARB, is sighting the other as the responsible party. This is unacceptable! Candidates need to know which entity is responsible, and who can help us answer specific questions about CLARB’s contract with the State. We do not believe that CLARB has the right to just take credit that has been painstakingly earned. Please help me find this contact information.

    I recommend all Candidates contact your (State’s) Department of Professional Regulation and request the same information. I truthfully was never contacted about the exam restructuring. Please friend me on Land8 or search for ClarbXchange on Facebook for periodic updates. There are hundreds of others like us out there. We just need to find a central location to communicate. We are trying to get everyone together.

    #154797
    Anthony Parziale
    Participant

    What are the changes? I find it hard to believe they can take any credit away for previously passed sections as they would have happened before the change and should be “grandfathered” in. What kind of a notice was sent out? Does the state you’re in have a Board of Architects (might be part of the Board of Ed as it is in some states) Or Office of Consumer Affairs? Those are some I’ve dealt with in the past regarding licensing.

    $5000? That’s a lot of cash to have spent on that rediculous test. I hope you either some of it back or at least get credit for what you paid for and earned.

    #154796
    temp impact
    Participant

    Changes made = a modified format from A,B,C,D,E to 1,2,3,4. Same material, but 4 sections. If you find it hard to believe CLARB took credit, believe it, because it happened. No grandfather, no refund. CLARB claims the sent out Twitter, Facebook, email and USPS notices. They claim to have sent this information out over 1 years time. The problem is… I was out of the country twice, I got married, my wife was out of the country for 6 months, and had my first child all in that same year. I didn’t think about taking an exam, so I never checked their website. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter. I have written confirmation from CLARB that they had removed me from their email list. Ad I have testimonials from about 50 people that they never received anything USPS, and CLARB cant produce any documentation that any postcards were sent at that time. Needless to say… I fell through the cracks.

    I went to the Board. Long story short, after much confusion, they said sorry (too bad)… the uploaded files show that CLARB is saying the Board is responsible for contacting candidates. The Board is saying it was CLARB’s responsibility.

    I have contacted the Dept. of Professional Reg. (which administers the Board) and the Dept of Agriculture (which administers non-profits). Both are saying it is the responsibility of the other to regulate the contract with CLARB. So now we had to go to internal investigations with the State to investigate who is actually responsible for regulating CLARB’s contract. I have been waiting about 3 weeks to hear from them. Emailed them again this week, with no response.

    All of this happened while legislation was being voted on in the State Senate to deregulate the profession. Everyone is making this as cloudy as possible. I have a feeling it will be hard to find a non-partisan judge if it goes to court.

    By the way… ASLA said they will not go public with my story or this issue. I contacted them over a year ago for help, with no luck. I need student, candidate and professional voices to hear this story, and the voice of the other candidates who have spoken to me about their frustrations. There was even a petition signed by over 100 people voicing their frustration. There are at least 99 candidates in my exact situation, who lost the most amount of credit and money possible. But no one will voice our story.

    CLARB has been unbelievably rude and condescending in their communications. They have told me I am lying, that I don’t know what I am talking about, and that I will never see a dime of money or point of credit.

    They offered a one time $500 credit. But you had to take both new exams 3&4 at the same time, with less than one weeks notice before the registration cut-off. CLARB falsely advertised the availability of practice exams, which were never offered. They claim to have offered 3 websites and video training (including two training seminars on Land8). The two seminars on Land8 were the exact same. The second one was actually a video recording of the first seminar, so technically it was one seminar twice. The other video was a generic “restructuring” video.

    At the beginning of the new exams (when candidates were forced into taking both exams if they wanted to receive any credit), CLARB said (online) that they would provide practice exams in September. Then they changed the word September on the website to October. Then a note was added that no practice exams were provided for the December 2012 exams. 

    Not to mention… the first time I bought practice exams for the exams I previously passed, not a week later, they were available for free on the ASLA website. The same website where they are available now. But that’s a whole other issue. This epitomizes CLARB’s business ethics.

    Jim Penrod is the CLARB representative who signed all of the letter I received calling me a liar, and blaming the Board for the lack of communication.

    The $5000 includes cost of exams, cost of practice exams from CLARB, travel & lodge receipts. It does not include study time and time off work.

    They continue to make it as hard as possible and refuse to refund any money or credit. Now, once I get money or credit, I will let everyone know.

    Not only do I want compensation, I want CLARB to admit fault publicly and change their policy so that this never happens to anyone again. They should state up-front in the Candidate Handbook that you can lose credit or money. They either intentionally leave that out, or their a bunch of idiots. Neither is good, and either way someone should be fired for this.

    #154795
    Mike Metevier
    Participant

    CLARB is a scam.  They will rip you off for thousands and keep the carrot from you.  CLARB looses money when you pass.  CLARB changing the rules during mid stream is unfair and wrong. 

    #154794
    temp impact
    Participant

    Sections C,D&E alone cost me roughly $5000. I passed some on the first try. Never passed D. CLARB took my money and my credit. Told me there are 99 people in my exact same position. That’s an estimated $495,000 dollars. Doesn’t even include people who only passed one Section.

    #154793

    Also….I recommend everyone read the CLARB SALARIES REVEALED discussion here on LAND8.  That discussion and THIS one really are a close connection……and concern!!!

    Bob

    #154792
    temp impact
    Participant

    I have details, date, written documentation from CLARB and my state Board, undeniable facts, that are scary. The salaries are true. But there is more… These people rotate business like the revolving door at the Saint Regis. I need more support. If you believe in transparency and accountability for non-profit organizations, please tell others. CLARB, the Boards, and ASLA are all working together.

    #154791

    I sort of have a “feeling” that CLARB……DOES monitor this website.

    It would be interesting if they would care to RESPOND to some of the negative comments posted here on LAND8.  These are some very serious and very disturbing issues!!!

    Dear CLARB…..are you getting this?

    Bob 

     

    #154790
    temp impact
    Participant

    Trust me. CLARB created this mess knowing what they were doing and what feedback they would receive. I have tried to respectfully be heard by CLARB, my Board, and ASLA. Non of these organizations will hear my case. Every person that hears my story is sickened by the unprofessional manner which CLARB has handled the situation.

    The problem is that CLARB answers to no one. This is what happens when any organization that has government ties is self regulated. They can be morally and ethically corrupt, and never be held accountable for their actions.

    #154789
    temp impact
    Participant

    To: Jorden Lockman,

    Sections C and E (graphic exams)
    Diagnostic Vignettes (Practice Exams) $50(*6): $300
    Application Fee: $100
    Registration Fee $75(*3): $225
    Section C* (passed on second) $270 & $360.00: $630
    Section E $360.00 (passed on first): $360
    Total Estimated Hotels (I stayed in cheaper hotes than those where the exams were held): (*3 trips) $400.00
    Total Estimated Travel (Planes and Cars as necessary to reach testing location) $400(*3 trips): $1,200

    Total Estimate Cost for Sections C & E: $3,215

    *Note: Graphic Exams: 33% increase, then 7% increase, for a total 40% increase in 2 years

    Section D (multiple choice exam) Note: I took this exam twice and didn’t pass. Hence, I lost credit for all 3 exams.
    Section D Prep Test (*1): $60
    Registration Fee: $75(*2): $150
    Section D $290.00(*2): $580
    Total Estimated Mileage $50(*2): $100
    Total Estimate Section D: $890

    Total Estimated Cost for Sections C, D & E: $4,105

    This doesn’t include the new Registration Fee ($150), nor the cost for “new” Sections 3&4 ($1000 total if passed on the first attempt). Include cost for the new exams and its over $5000. Notice I didn’t I include any cost for personal time or materials (ex: trace paper, pencils printer ink, days off work for the exams) dedicated to the study. That would be imposable to calculate. But I have to go through all of that again…

    What was that you said about taking the test and failing 12-13 times? Maybe I misunderstood your comment… Or maybe you misread what I said: I alone have lost close to $5000.00 because of CLARB’s restructuring.

    I have lost that much. I don’t live in the same City where they hold the exams. I must travel and stay in a hotel… Maybe that’s how you calculated the 12-13 times comment? I bet you passed on your first attempt. Congrats! Thanks for the words of encouragement!

    #154788

    WOW…….How things have CHANGED with respect to the NATIONAL Landscape Architect’s License!!!  I do realize that costs of everything goes UP over time, but, the FEES for the L.A.R.E. are absolutely ridiculous!

    When I took the National LA Exam in 1977-78……it was called the U.N.E. (Uniform National Exam).  Cost = $75.00.  Passed it the 2nd time.  Within approx. 30 days, I applied for and was issued my LA License in both Florida & Texas…..easy, simple.  That exam was 2-1/2 days in length….a combination of some multiple choice questions as well as some drawing sections.  Had to pass a Grading Exam.  Also, a 3 hour long “design problem”.  And a portion that test for “construction detailing”.  I don’t recall there being ANY practice tests available.  All tests were graded by (3) qualified Landscape Architects to determine if a candidate passed or failed all or some of the sections.

    A few states have “STATE EXAMS”……like The State of Florida, California & Nevada, I believe.

    I also once had a CLARB Certificate for several years.  I believe the initial fee was $100.00.  And, I wanted to get an LA license in a new state, I sent $50.00 to CLARB and requested that they send a copy of my CLARB file to that state LA Board.  I understand that NOW…..these fees are much higher.

    Still…..I don’t understand HOW….CLARB can justify the costs to administer the L.A.R.E.  And, they really should make an effort to have the L.A.R.E. exam administered in a variety of major cities (if they aren’t already doing so)….so, to help reduce the travel expenses of those wishing to take the exam.

    #154787
    temp impact
    Participant

    To CLARB’s credit, beginning in December 2012 they began offering the exams in multiple cities within my State. I think that’s nation wide. Although, the did remove all “graphic” requirements from the exam. Meaning, nothing is drawn anymore, it’s all preloaded onto a computer. You stare at a screen for 4 hours, and need no graphic skills.

    This still doesn’t excuse CLARB for how they handled the situation. They write the rules. They could have given a longer transition. Or they could have allowed candidates that lost credit to finish their last exams.

    Either they are too stupid to realize. Or they are too disrespectful to allow this. Those are the only two options. Neither option is good, and someone should be fires. I tend to believe that they are smart, they knew what they were doing.

    I’m amazed at how inexpensive it used to be… Actually not inexpensive, but the right price. Saying it was inexpensive would be like saying it’s cheep to buy a house now, when we know that all that happened was that the price of a home is actually back to a “not so inflated cost”. But, when a (so called) non-profit pays their executive officers as much as they do… well I guess they have families to feed… I looked some of these people up on Been Verified (background check). They are all living lavish lifestyles and own successful companies. I’ll be the exam graders work harder than they work for CLARB.

    Personally I believe it goes a lot deeper than that, but that’s my opinion. Anyone else live in a State where they tried to remove the state’s Title Law for Landscape Architecture within the past couple years? I would be interested to know. But this is all hear-say, and I realize that.

    #154786

    Of course, I’m not familiar with the FORMAT of the L.A.R.E. 

    No “graphic” requirements on the L.A.R.E.?  Maybe it has just recently changed.  I recently mentored a young LA graduate with the “Grading Design” portion of the L.A.R.E.  I think he had to solve (4) different Grading Design vignettes.  Is that still a requirement?

    As I mentioned, when I took the U.N.E., we had a 3 hour graphic design problem to solve….construction details to draw as well as a fairly intense grading problem to solve.  I also had a couple of tests that were “multiple-choice” questions. 

    It is my understanding through ASLA, that there are ONLY (3) States left that have TITLE LAWS for Landscape Architects…they are: MA, ME & IL.  In most States, if a designer uses the term “Landscape Designer”, that person is still allowed to design most types of projects.  Still, it’s BEST to have at least an LA license in the State where you live and work.

    #154785
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    Heh- heh, I’ve boo-hoo-ed and cried so many tears over the last 20 plus years about CLARB that I’m just numb. I guess they just broke me.  Now I just write checks with a thousand mile stare without any feeling.

    If you think it’s over once you pass the LARE and get licensed, you’re wrong. Especially if you want to be a CLARB certified LA so that you can easily get registered in other states through reciprocity. It never ends, so just get a book of checks with CLARB pre-printed on them as the payee and enjoy. Like my doctor said at my last prostate exam, “Just relax, it’s not nearly as bad as you think”.   

    #154784

    OK………since we’re talking about CLARB here…and the L.A.R.E…..I’d like to add this.

    I just read the “Landscape Architecture Registration Exam – L.A.R.E.” Orientation Guide on-line…….Unbelievable!!!  I mean, I realize times change…and I realize, yes, I’m old school (having earned my B.S.L.A. back in 1977)….but, the profession of “Landscape Architecture” is…..if I’m not mistaken, all about drawing and design….and I don’t mean “just by computer”.

    But, when I read the LIST of items that are PROHIBITED from being brought into the L.A.R.E. examination room……I couldn’t believe it.  No pencils, no pens, no paper….basically nothing.  Each candidate just has a designated time to sit in front of a computer and take the various PARTS of the EXAM……all on computer.  ZERO GRAPHICS are involved in taking the L.A.R.E. exam……really???  And, if a candidate passes, they are allowed to become a Registered Landscape Architect in just about any State (although, a few states have “State Exams”….i.e. Calif., Fla. and Nevada are 3 I know of.

    To me, this would almost like studying PHOTOGRAPHY at a University for 4 yrs…..then, taking a “multiple choice exam” on a computer…..where you might click on photos that you believe are good vs. poor.  Shouldn’t this candidate be required to “demonstrate” they can actually USE a camera…and actually be able to take great photographs?!  I think so.

    I know the SKETCH-UP people are going to jump on me here…..fine.  But, Landscape Architects SHOULD know how to draw…….”by hand”.  How to sketch…and even design….”by hand”.  Even the TOP Elite LA firms in the World do “hand sketches” and “hand drawn color renderings” before they take their design ideas to the computer software…..to refine and then finalize their ideas.

    I really do understand the VALUE of computer software programs…..and how they are a great addition to our profession.  But, it’s just my opinion that we really are LOST if we forget that as Landscape Architects……we draw, sketch and even do color renderings “by hand”….it’s a very basic part of what and who we are.

    For the L.A.R.E. to TOTALLY omit ALL forms of GRAPHICs…..that LA candidates do not have to demonstrate that they have ANY drawing skills is something I can’t get my mind around.  Well, I would think if nothing else, the way the L.A.R.E. exam is set up….it SHOULD be very EASY to grade.  If the questions are all good questions…you either got it right or you got it wrong.  When I had to take the U.N.E. exam…..when hand drawing a grading plan, hand drawing construction details and hand drawing a 3 hour design problem was required…..3 Landscape Architect were required to use their professional backgrounds & judgment to determine if that LA candidate was competent…..and understood what he or she was doing.

    AND….if the GRADING is easier….as it should be if the L.A.R.E. exam is set up the way it is…….it seems to me that CLARB could keep the COSTS down to where they are reasonable and fair.  But, from what I’ve been reading in this discussion…..there’s not much REASONABLE or FAIR about the L.A.R.E fee structure.

    I feel, it is (to some degree) the responsibility of veteran Landscape Architects to keep Landscape Architecture from turning into a “computer driven world”…..and I think too, also the responsibility of ALL Landscape Architecture University Professors to ensure their students LEARN how to sketch and draw (by hand), not just using computer software.  I think, in today’s World, we do need both computer software & “hand drawing skills”…….OK, sorry, I’m done now.

     

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