Why DPS will fail and Trotwood did not

The first and only call I ever got from the principal at Horace Mann was to request me to come to the school over an urgent matter concerning an 11 year old. She wouldn’t tell me what the problem was over the phone. I dropped everything, as did the 11 year olds mother and we arrived at the school within 20 minutes. Apparently, our daughter had done the unmentionable- brought “Dick Tarts” to school.

What’s a “Dick Tart” you ask? It’s like a cross between a “Tic Tac” and a “Sweet Tart”- shaped like a males anatomy. It was fished out of the trash by a kid who thought they were funny- my girlfriend had gotten them as a gag at one of those “passion parties” where women invite their friends over to drink wine and maybe buy some fun clothes and toys for the bed room.

I sit in amazement as I’m read chapter and verse out of the DPS handbook, that my kid is going to be suspended for 10 days for bringing sexually oriented material to school. And, risk expulsion. There was no negotiating, no discussion, no teachable moment or intelligent thought about the insanity of this remedy for a harmless piece of candy.

That was the only call we got from the principal.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I run up with my camera to Trotwood Madison High School to hear their new superintendent talk about what escaping state takeover means and whats next. There was no patting ourselves on the back, there was no blaming software for our troubles, not a single mention of poverty holding our students back. Just a man with a plan.

Starting with remarkable ideas like parent engagement specialists making at least 10 calls a day to parents- not to tell them what their kid did wrong, but what their kid did right. There was the move away from Principal as disciplinarian- to principal as a lead educator focused on student achievement, spending time in the classrooms. They had a dean of students to deal with discipline.

And, after the first two weeks of school and working out the kinks, attendance is up. Way up. Because, when you care about kids actually being in school- they actually show up. Someone actually gets the idea that if a kid isn’t at school, they can’t learn. Rocket surgery thinking here folks. But, wait there’s more!

We know some kids aren’t in school because they have to work in order to eat. No worries, not only will we transport our kids home after school if needed, but, if they stay for after school activities or tutoring, they’ll get a ride home too- and dinner if they want it. Trotwood won’t allow poverty to be an excuse to miss school, or sports, or chess club. They’re all in.

And while they only moved up from 608, worst in the state to 603- the goal is to see how good they can be, how high can they go. Every single person working in the district has their sights set on student achievement. The superintendent, Tyrone Olverson is buying a house in Trotwood. He’s all in too. But what you have to admire most is he shares the spotlight, he walks his people up and lets them tell the world that they’ve bought in too. That they know what the challenges are. And the crazy thing is- he’s doing it with a lot of people who used to work in Dayton, people like Lisa Minor, who was part of the reason Dayton got an A in Annual Yearly Progress a few years ago and couldn’t repeat during the turmoil years of Corr/Lolli.

Back to DPS. Superintendent Lolli, is blaming software for their sorry ass performance and threatening to sue the vendor- even though the scores wouldn’t change enough to get them back to 607 from their now bottom of the heap 608. There was no talk of 608 to Great- like the kids are now chanting in Trotwood, there was no plan for transporting high school students, or making sure they are fed, or of calling homes with good news. No plan. Just more drivel about aligning curriculum with tests and structuring her forces. You’ve got a used up wet noodle from Middletown leaning on her friends and family to remake June Cleavers vision of DPS. There has never been an inspiring speech from Libby Lolli because there is nothing inspiring about her. One look at her track record of “leading school districts” shows a woman who has never completed a contract term in her life. She’s spending money with consultants and hiring high priced administrators at a rate like Donald Trump tells lies, and not having to worry how to pay for it in 2 years because that’s when she’ll bow out and retire. She won’t ever have a student high-five her, or a teacher hug her. Who wants to hug the ice queen?

My prediction is that Trotwood is going to leverage its state champion sports teams, it’s new-found swagger and structured approaches to education and start to grow. In fact, I see the day in the not too distant future when Thurgood Marshall High School, Meadowdale High School and the new Valerie at Meadowdale, are all acquired/absorbed by Trotwood as DPS shrinks below 10K students as DPS is taken over by the State, and parents get sick of the “plan du jour” of DPS, the ridiculous 2.5% Dayton income tax and the lousy service.

Compare Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald who is all smiles and positivity to Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley who flat out tells the entire nation (Frontline hit piece of September 11, 2018) that Dayton kids will never make as much money or have the kind of life she had thanks to her fathers union job. With Mayors like that, who needs to stay in Dayton?

While DPS says we can’t do pre-school 5 days a week, Trotwood says we can do pre-school and child care for you from 8-6 including 3 square meals a day. While Dayton is busy feeding the school-to-prison pipeline and switching winning coaches at Dunbar for losers, Trotwood is reveling in a new found confidence and feeding minds, bodies and souls.

Expectancy theory is a bona fide  management practice. You get the results you expect. Dayton still hasn’t a clue on how to transform itself, and I have a confession to make, last Tuesday, I stopped caring.

Not about the kids, who I wish and hope will manage to take advantage of the amazing teachers who put their heart and soul into trying to make a difference in the mad house. I care about them. I stopped caring about the “leadership” of DPS. I couldn’t find it in me to go to another board “review session” and spend time with stupid people. I’d had enough.

Over the last two years and a half years I went from having dreams of DPS turning around under the obvious choice for Superintendent, the home grown talent David Lawrence, to watching them pass him over for the train wreck of Rhonda Corr.

I did make a few friends out of that process. Dan Schroer a runner up, has become one of my favorite people to talk to over lunch. He’s now running the formerly raucous Springboro district like a Swiss watch, where he passed a levy on the first try- a first for Springboro. His district now has an A for a district grade, 1 of 28 in the state. When I called him to congratulate him, he spoke of how his staff is already planning visits to all the other 27 districts that got an A- to compare notes and learn how to improve. He didn’t take a bit of credit for the score himself, it was all about his team and their can-do attitude. And believe it or not, I made a friend in Rhonda Corr. Yes, even though I’ve called her some incredibly bad things on this site, I still like her as a person, and believe she was probably a great principal. She, as very few people could ever be, was just not built to take on working in a district that’s so dysfunctional. That eats its own, people like Darren Powell, Peggy Burks, David Lawrence, Pete Pullen, real people, who bled DPS right up till they had their throats slit by the very district that they loved.

With that being said, DPS has a retreat today. They should video it, but won’t. I won’t. I’m done. This coming Tuesday will be the last time I go to a meeting and record it. The last time I’ll speak. They’re on their own. Because, after 2.5 years of trying to lead a horse to water, I’ve realized they won’t drink anything but their own kool aide, and it’s the Reverend Jim Jones special blend.

My mind was made up before I went to video Olverson on Friday. But, what sealed the deal was Mrs Howard. Every time I’ve stepped foot in a Trotwood school public meeting she was there, sort of like our Mario Gallin. She made an effort to come over and thank me for what I do. She said it was important work, speaking truth to power. She bleeds Trotwood- but understands Dayton has to succeed if Trotwood is to survive. But, she wasn’t the only one. The president of the school board, the superintendent, at least half of his staff, all pretty much said the same thing as they made their way to me. The only people making their way toward me at DPS meeting is the security staff, John McManus, Jim Fowler and his team from Kiser, or Dr. Hill. The rest fear me, and the truth.

One last fact- Tyrone Olverson applied to DPS when they were looking to replace Lori Ward. They didn’t even give him an interview. Boy did we miss out.

 

David Esrati, the most dangerous man in Dayton

Ideas are currency.

And in Dayton Ohio, we used up our quota sometime before 1950, because, frankly, up until then we were on a roll. Inventions poured out of this little city. The cash register, the airplane, the step-ladder, the electric starter and even ice-cube trays. We had a few hits after 1950 like the pop-top and the search engine, but, generally, we ran out of gas.

We did stupid things like slice through downtown with a big elevated highway, and we allowed sprawl like no-ones business (actually- it was great business for a few people in power who profited greatly from insider knowledge), and we let our racism tear this city apart.

That all happened before I got to town and pissed off the powers that be by putting up the wrong kind of garage doors on a garage that came with a $14,500 house. Yes, a house that cost less than a parking spot in NYC for a year. That was the beginning of the attempt to tame this wild new thinker in Dayton.

I’ve been called names, I’ve been assaulted by a Mayor, arrested by another Mayor, I’ve been called a pedophile by a Union Chief- who also picked a fight- and then as I got out of my car- slammed the door on my leg. I’ve had my house shot, my office windows broken 2 nights in a row, I’ve been threatened with bodily harm, and had microphones shut off as I spoke at public meetings. I’ve been thrown out of libraries, locked out of public meetings and written up for peeling paint. I think I’ve even been falsely accused of double dipping my chips.

However, the internet has given me a chance to speak and be heard. I’ve broken stories of illegal campaign donations, payola to our congressman’s wife, torture and deaths in the jail and international men of mystery pulling a fast one on the hapless school board and then the Republican party.

But, when it comes to being recognized as a legitimate voice in the community the door has been slammed shut. For the first three years I applied to be a speaker at TEDx- and rejected.

thumbnail of daytonaaf-letter

Thrown out of Ad Club

And yesterday, I got told that my slides were too political, and we can’t have you speak at Pecha Kucha this Thursday night. Yep, talking about hanging basketball nets instead of putting out political yard signs is too risque for PK. Then the mail had an unsigned letter from AAF Dayton, formerly known as the Dayton Ad Club. My membership dues were being returned and I wasn’t welcome as a member. I’d been a member of the club for at least 25 years, but chose to join Cincinnati last year after they gave the Silver Medal to a guy who just showed up in town about 7 years ago. Hell, he barely made it to the meetings. So much for years of volunteer work, community contributions, and actually hiring people and giving them their first jobs in the business.

Good thing is, Cincinnati still welcomes me.

Now a few friends have said things like, you know, if people keep telling you that you have a tail, at some point you might want to look back and do something about it.

To them, I say, sure thing. I’m sure that people told Rosa Parks, “Lady, look, just go on to the back of the bus and don’t make no stink, Whitey is awful nice to even let us ride on their buses with them”

And, others told Martin Luther King, to just stick to the bible and preaching, all this marching and rabble rousing will just get you thrown in jail or worse.

How do I know that? Here’s the opening of his letter, from the Birmingham jail- I’d highly recommend reading the whole thing.

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work.

Source: Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]

So, since I won’t be able to take the stage on Thursday to talk about “The Long Game of Basketball Net Propaganda” at PK- here’s the banned presentation- please share it with everyone.

Banned in Dayton:

And if you’re wondering about my other 2 PK presentations

And when we stop sharing ideas. We’re broke.

Dangerous dilettantes

“I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Those words, published anonymously by the New York Times, may be the most dangerous words written in the history of our nation.

While so many had their panties in a twist about a Nike ad using former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, which read “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” could very well have been the impetus for the “like-minded colleagues” to come forward.

Colin Kaepernick Nike ad, sacrificeVery few people put the two events together. But we all should have.

When one enlists in the United States Military, as I did long ago, you raise your right hand and swear an oath:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Those words are commonly referred to by basic training instructors, boot camp DI’s and the like as signing a check to the US Government payable with your life. It’s serious.

And here we have the problem the “like-minded colleagues” (LMC) face, they have apparently decided that the president, is a domestic enemy and it is their role to support and defend the constitution over obeying the orders of the President of the United States.

And for that, we should be thankful, except by doing it anonymously, they are not stepping up and signing that check. What they are doing is called treason, and the President is right to be incensed.

One of the ways we test a theory to see if it applies is to use Occam’s razor to present two scenarios and test for the simplest answer: If the same LMC had tried to insert themselves into President Obama’s presidency as he tried to unwind the financial meltdown by anonymously announcing their intervention there would have been screams of racism, of subverting the democratic process. I’m not saying people didn’t interject themselves into his presidency- the bankers got exactly the bail-out they wanted, and the public got the bill, but, it was all done in relatively plain sight, and of course, Obama had won not just the electoral college vote but the popular vote- and let’s not forget that he isn’t bat shit crazy.

On the other hand, we have people burning Nikes, and screaming about how Kaepernick hadn’t sacrificed anything really, in comparison to, well, you name it. First of all, those words were not Kaepernicks, they came out of the braintrust at Wieden + Kennedy of Portland Oregon. No, they are not a political thinktank, they are an ad agency. Nike’s ad agency, and they are insanely great at what they do. They are also one of the largest independent shops left in the industry (independent as in not owned by some huge conglomerate of ad agencies- not as in politics). This campaign was well thought out, measured and did exactly what it was supposed to do- generate free promotion, move Nike to the forefront of the consumers mind and boost sales- which it did and will win huge awards for.

Kaepernick is just the model. But a model with a brain, a voice and who is lucky enough to have a corporation ready to back him up. Because, just like in politics these days, the size of your soapbox is directly correlated by the size of your bank account (or your “supporters” bank account).

As I’ve said before, we have the best politicians money can buy. Still.

And that’s part of the problem with President Trump, he’s defied all odds, and continues to befuddle the betting money. All the “Never Trump” Republicans fear that his supporters which ruled over so many of their districts, will not tolerate disobedience to the new emperor, even though they are well aware that he has no clothes and is bat shit crazy. Not in that they truly believe that his policies will solve all America’s problems, but that he’s caused confusion as to who their true allegiance needs to be sworn to- the president and his “deplorable followers” or the money that has kept them in power for so long.

Elections are no longer as predictable as the gerrymandered maps used to guarantee. Some crazy ass socialists have already won over incumbents who used to be safe and solid establishment folks. We can’t love all of Trump- because some of his character faults are reprehensible even to us (take your pick from philandering, to Russian interference, to the good Nazi’s of Charllotesville).

And now, we have this gift- there is a resistance, an underground secret society, working to protect America from the dilettante dictator in the making. If I manage to squeak by in my election, and the Special Prosecutor finally does make his case for removal from office for Trumps defecation over the rules of decency that used to be in place for our political system, as flawed as it has become, to work, we can say “I was part of the resistance” – I now have “plausible deniability:”

Although plausible deniability has existed throughout history, that name for it was coined by the CIA in the early 1960s to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.

Source: Plausible deniability – Wikipedia

And that’s what Kaepernick doesn’t have. He has actually taken a stand by taking a knee in front of “God and Country” to protest what he sees as injustice. Of misappropriation of power, of the protection of those in blue who have lost their perspective on what “to serve and protect” means. Of the discount of human lives, especially of black ones, who seem to have a separate standard applied to their loss of life without judge or jury- just an executioner.

Just this week, a white female police officer in Dallas entered an apartment and shot a black man and wasn’t immediately arrested and charged with manslaughter. Yes, we have a problem. Kaepernick has clearly stated over and over why he kneels. Many choose to ignore it. And of course ignorance is bliss.

Ignorance is the enemy of democracy and trust is the bedrock. We may claim to be a secular country, but on our money, the currency of our political system, it’s there for all to see “In God We Trust” as if the power of the greenback really isn’t what props the whole thing up. In the end, it’s trust.

Those LMCs have a problem. They have broken our trust. If they are indeed senior officials, they have not done what the constitution requires which is to sign your name to your claim. They have cowardly tried to have their cake and eat it too. They have not sacrificed everything. They have endangered the very bedrock of our democracy, by thumbing their nose at the rules and saying “trust us” without question. That is unacceptable.

While the New York Times was right to publish the essay, they created a political football.

Our legislators swore an oath of office after all, and Kaepernick just played football.

We can’t afford a fumble on this one. To the LMC- sign your names or resign. To the rest in Congress, you’re in the game, it’s time to demand a President who plays by the rules again.

Trust is what makes civilization and democracy possible, and it can’t be bought and sold, it must be earned. And yes, there is a price that comes with it. Some are willing to pay the ultimate price and some, just want to pay lip service. Now is the time to separate the true patriots. My bet is still on Kap.

 

 

 

Petitions, Initiatives, Recalls and total disregard for voters

Deciminialization in DaytonCurve ball out of Dayton City Hall last week when Mayor Whaley and her crew decided to toss a bone on the ballot to “check the voters pulse” on decriminalizing pot in Dayton. Not bricks of pot, nope- only the people who pay off the state officials will get to profiteer from medical pot, but, small amounts, enough for a few joints.

Normally, misdemeanor pot charges are an excuse to arrest and hold people who can’t afford bail, or to harass people of color. We’re filling up the jail with cheech and chong, while we can’t manage to find murderers, arsonists or even charge white collar criminals who steal money from disabled veterans.

By putting the question to the voters, the politicians have the appearance of doing the right thing, but, what it really is, is an attempt to get the black vote to the polls to make sure they support people like Brandon McLain and Gerald Parker and Carolyn Rice. After watching Gary Leitzell almost beat Debbie Lieberman without spending any money, some people in the dem party are now officially woke.

Yes, Montgomery County voted for Trump, and they are pulling out all stops to get people out to vote, because the “blue wave” that they predicted hasn’t really shown itself.

Members of the NAACP just got woke too. They were out gathering signatures to put the speed and redlight cameras on the ballot- and failed. Now they see that just 3 city commissioners can throw a ballot initiative on the ballot, without ANY signatures- has them a little ticked off. About time you realized you’ve been getting used by the party for years, but, you kept electing empty suits like they have downtown at Price Stores.

The reality of citizen initiated petitions succeeding in Montgomery County and most of the state is a myth- unless you have millions of dollars behind your issue. The recent effort to put the sales tax increase on the ballot was a clear sign that even a very popular issue, is almost impossible to make happen.

Try looking up how to recall a school board member in the Ohio Revised Code. There isn’t a standardized rule or format for doing it. Trust me, I’ve looked.

The people trying to repeal the sales tax increase were political insiders, lawyers, and even they were surprised at how fast the law required the petitions to be turned in- 30 days after the vote was taken. It’s almost impossible.

Instead of wondering about “hot button issues” in this next election for state reps- you shouldn’t care about guns, stand your ground, legal pot, you should be asking for reps that will actually clean up the ORC so simple law like the Open Meetings Act (I’m joking when I call it simple) is actually clear and concise with actual steps spelled out on the books. Instead, the Attorney General publishes a 250 page book to explain the damn law, that’s never resulted in a single politicians being removed from office despite that rule being on the books for over 60 years.

The first thing the Dayton City Commission should have changed by their ability to put new laws on the ballot- should have been a revamp of the petition to run for city commission. It’s time to eliminate the nominating committee requirement, as well as the notary requirement. The form needs to have a block to print your name, one to sign your name, your street address and date. No more ward or precinct. And, it should be assumed, that if a candidate collects 500 good signatures and turns them in, he’s offering to run for commission. What his/her signature adds to the petition is unimportant. If 500 voters say Donald Duck should be on the ballot- and Donald turns them in with the filing fee, that’s good enough. And, one last thing, the whole date of the election question needs a revamp too- since the idiots at the BOE can change the date of the primary seemingly randomly, and there might not be a primary if there aren’t enough valid candidates- so just say “to run in the next election” for the Dayton City Commission.

Voters SHOULD decide who they want on the ballot- not the parties, not the Board of (S)elections.

The pot issue should be approved. Minor quantity possession for personal use is not a threat to society- we’ve already approved it for medical use. The real question is, if this city commission really cared about our citizens safety and health and welfare- how can they let any citizens spend a single minute if Sheriff Phil “the torturer” Plummer’s house of horror- commonly known as the Montgomery County Jail?

If this wasn’t just a ploy to draw out votes in November- I’d be more enthusiastic about this good legislation, but unfortunately, it’s just Nan and Company trying to use the people of Dayton for their friends and family plan.