Well, I have to agree that the dashboard is not very useful to most users (the way it is setup now).
Sure, for us (developers) it is nice to keep up-to-date with WordPress, but 99% of my users know nothing about code, development, etc. and couldn't care less about the latest developments. All they care about is being able to use the site they are on.
I think it would be nice if there were customizable settings for the dashboard in the options menu for level 10 users, and that one could define who gets access to the dashboard. For me (and probably most), it is enough that only levels 9 and 10 can see it, while others may appreciate giving all users access.
I think most users are only confused by it as most of the contents there are completely irrelevent to your blog.
On the other hand, the small box that shows stats for your blog is very nice, but that's almost an afterthought in the dashboard. If the dashboard page was more focused on the specific blog you were on, rather than wordpress.org, I think it would be useful for more people.