Dayton Public Schools and the state report card
If I ran a dating site and described each member by height, weight, and eye color and nothing else, how many people do you think would be happy about their dates?
The state report card has become the metric for measuring schools of late- leaving out all the nuances that make up a school or a district.
That the Dayton Public Schools have been continuously improving isn’t what makes the local paper- or any big jumps in performance at schools like Thurgood Marshall High School. No, what makes the paper is that:
Eight of the 10 best performing schools in the city of Dayton are now charter schools, according to 2009-10 state Report Card data.
It’s headlines like these that hurt Dayton Public Schools- but, aren’t brutal because most Dayton Public Schools parents don’t read the paper. What’s brutal is how these stories will get manipulated and spun and then “telephoned” to other parents. The difference being- charter schools are businesses that depend on recruiting students to stay open and get funding (right out of the DPS budget) and Dayton Public Schools, well, they just sit there and take it.
Emerson Academy down the street has had a sign up for months saying “Be a part of a top ten school”- they have a nice big four-color brochure (8 pages, not a little trifold) that sells the school and is mailed to households without kids- just because they know they need to toot their horn to everyone, and they need to recruit the students with parents who care and get involved- because parental involvement is probably the second highest indicator for success in school- right after income level.
Dayton Public Schools on the other hand- takes all comers, including those with special needs. Twenty percent of DPS students fall into that category- making it incredibly hard to pull average report card numbers up- and keep budgets under control. Special needs by the way- besides including those with learning handicaps, also includes students who don’t speak English as a primary language. DPS has a school, Patterson Kennedy, that would give the UN a run for its money on number of languages spoken. And, DPS also includes programs that the state report card doesn’t measure- like music, arts, and athletics (there isn’t a charter school with a basketball team- yet, I keep waiting for a charter prep boys basketball school, that can recruit regionally and screw the OSHSAA)
Because it’s the biggest school district (even after losing so many students to charter schools) it becomes the focal point of the region. Dayton Public Schools aren’t very good is a message that gets broadcast across the state- instead of a message like “Stivers School of the Arts” is one of the top in the country- or, we have four Gates scholars almost every year. This hurts in not only recruiting better students, with higher parental involvement- and higher income- but the whole region as we get lumped in as a loser community. Sure, Dunbar won the state hoops title, but, the scores for the school are low (forget about those special needs students or poverty levels).
These shallow one-sided looks at the district performance hurt our property values, hurt our communities’ ability to recruit new people, and sustain an image problem- that’s been in place since the deseg order of the seventies (which built the suburbs- as those who could afford to move did- causing the economic segregation gap to grow phenomenally).
How much is at stake? Because each charter school gets about $5k from DPS for each student, plus DPS has to pay for transportation and other services, it gets expensive. With 27% of the students choosing charters- that’s about 5,200 students, times $5 k each – you are seeing $26 million get drained from DPS coffers. Not exactly chump change- but when you start seeing these students help the charters become 8 of the top 10 schools- you can either draw one of two conclusions:
- Dayton Public Schools can’t educate and Charters can.
- Charters are siphoning off the best students and filtering out the poorest and special needs students.
Somehow I just don’t buy the first answer. I’m sure there are many who will disagree, but considering how many charters also end up on the bottom of the scale – I think we’re seeing the results of some good marketing and cherry-picking of students.
With Dayton Public Schools finally working their way back to “neighborhood schools” they should be able to boost parental involvement and create true learning communities. This has been the method of the charter that became a conversion school up the street in Twin Towers. Ruskin Elementary, in partnership with East End Community Services is working toward a complete learning community modeled after the work done by Geoffery Canada in Harlem.
Also, the Dayton Public Schools has managed to mismanage their PR for something like the last 11 superintendents. Somehow, the good parts of Dayton Public Schools haven’t come to the forefront of public perception. A lot of this can be blamed on the Dayton Daily News, the newspaper that loathes its host community. Nevermind that DPS has also been more likely to hire PR consultants for their political connections- instead of the quality of their work: Avakian Consulting, Penny Ohlman Neiman and now Burges & Burges of Cleveland on a no-bid contract. If there has been anything done to change the DPS brand- it’s been with the aide of the incompetent. (If you’d like examples- I have them- just not the time to post them all).
There is $26 million at stake in lost revenue. There are perception issues that can continue to make it harder for DPS to recruit and retain students who can perform well on standardized testing. It’s time to see a plan to counter these trends and work to solving this problem that will continue to fester and eventually kill the district if not dealt with properly.
The chattering class was in full-blown hand-wringing and sermonizing mode. A Presidential commission on education had delivered a blistering indictment on American education, and the report dominated the headlines, conversations and Sunday morning talk shows for weeks. Basically noting a rising tide of educational mediocrity, the commission listed a group of suggestions, which simply could be called a return to the primacy of English, math and science in schools. Only problem being, the President when this study was released was Ronald Reagan and the year was 1983. Since the report’s release, education has continued it’s steady and predictable decline. So the conondrum becomes thus; if the government identified an educational crisis 30 years ago but was impotent to fix it, why would anyone think the same government can solve the education problem even 30 years from now. The home-school, religous school and private school movements are the public’s response to the the educrats who have the strange ability to spend vast amounts of the taxpayers’ money while simultaneously letting the quality of their service take an abysmal slide…..
Home-schooling, religous schools and private schools made up just as large a part of American education in 1983 as they do today, so they must be a part of that mediocrity Mr. Bandit. The only real change since 1983 is the charter movement, so they must be the “steady and predictable decline”.
Joe, thank you for correcting me on how the taxes are dispensed. I understand it differently now. Wealthier neighborhoods pay more and get less. Regarding meaningful discussion, I am interested. You stated: “The only programs that I’ve seen make a real difference are those that offer incentive to students, very expensive programs.” so I stated: “I am not surprised that the only solution you see is one that costs MORE money.” I did not mean this as insult, simply as a statement that seems to have been made by near every person that works in the public system. OK, let me clarify what I was hoping to acheive in the hypothetical charter program. It is simply having a students money follow him. If I as a taxpayer pay local and state taxes and want to choose a private or charter school for my child, I feel the full share of that child’s tax money should follow him to the school I choose. Not just the state portion. Understand? It is still a socialist funding model, but it is a stepping stone towards matching cost with benefit and forcing schools to compete. And yes, I understand that Charters are a statewide intiative and getting all the localities on board would probably be unlikely. It is not my ideal solution, but on occassion I give in to something better instead of something right. Joe said: “I’m not sure what you want or what problem you think needs addressed.” The problem I think that needs to be addressed is the high expenditures and low acheivement for education. The second problem I think needs to be addressed is the socialist model gauranting a free education or education as someones right. So, any of the following I would “want”: Higher acheivement (without additional resources). Less expedenditures and thus less taxes. A revised funding plan that matches cost to benefit. An all out end to tax funded education. Keeping the topic in mind, DE’s original article was one that was contentious towards charter schools for “taking” money from the DPS. But, DPS maintains all the local funds from the child attending the charter… Read more »
“The home-school, religious school and private school movements are the public’s response to the educrats who have the strange ability to spend vast amounts of the taxpayers’ money while simultaneously letting the quality of their service take an abysmal slide…..” Ice Bandit
Ice- I couldn’t agree more. I know you are being humorous when you say that the educrats have a “strange ability to spend vast amounts of the taxpayers’ money while simultaneously letting the quality of their service take an abysmal slide”. But honestly, it probably has less to do with “ability” or even intent and more to do with the very structure of the system. East German automotive engineers couldn’t have designed a better system that has to strive to reach mediocrity. First, instead of subsidizing the consumer we subsidize the producer, so they don’t have to earn the business. Second, attendance is largely determined not upon mutual agreement but mandated based upon where one lives. Third…lack of consumer choice and the hidden cost of education (unseen funding through property tax) promotes both consumer and producer malaise, apathy and acceptance of status quo. Fourth, they are spending other peoples’ money and that promotes a spend it or lose it budget mentality at the operation level. Fifth, a union that mutes demands from both the consumers and the management which consequently promotes a side effect of mediocrity and a sense of job entitlement. Sixth, administrations are often all too happy manage to a union contract because it easier than having to manage individuals. Seventh, pay is based upon time doing the job and personal education and not performance and ability. Eighth, a tenure system ensures that even the most mediocre teacher is assured a job until retirement. Ninth, federal and state curriculum and testing requirements ensure a one size fits all education instead of being driven locally. Tenth, most attempts by the public to exact more accountability, control or fiscal prudence are characterized as “anti-education” and met with a chorale of “but the children…” and doomsday scenarios from the public education establishment.
Jesse, thanks for that youtube link, what a very self-aware young lady:
and what a tragedy:
A tragedy in the classical sense, the other option for the modern indoctrinee being comedy, since nothing, not even the indoctrination itself, must be taken seriously. To take a thing seriously is to start turning away from the cave’s entertainment. It’s the first mental adjustment towards owning one’s inner life.
She gets a little silly and Utopian at the end (“once properly educated we’ll use our powers only for Good”), but hey she’s just a kid, why shouldn’t she be?
Mr. Vigh, your problem, “high expenditures and low acheivement (sp.) for education”. Your proposed solution doesn’t address the problem at all. Charter schools performance is overall below public schools statewide and there is no reason to believe that they would exceed public school performance if the charter system were expanded. Within the Dayton district charters did marginally better this year with students from economically better off families, fewer students with special needs, and the ability to dump students they don’t want. How would an end to public funding education improve achievement? You would likely have fewer children attending school. How does that improve achievement?
The only programs that I’ve seen make a real difference are those that offer incentive to students, very expensive programs. (Joe Lacey)
Gotta’ agree with you on this one Joe. The Old Bandito is here to testify that incentives to students work. Why, when yours truly was a lad learning the three Rs, he and his siblings had a powerful incentive to excel; and that was bring home a respectable report card and the Old Man would not, with excessive force and malice aforethought, plant his steel- toed, size 12 Red Wing work boot in a part of the student’s anatomy that rarely experienced direct sunlight. That, along with the potential loss of freedom, prestige and the possibility of de facto slave labor worked miracles in getting the Old Bandito and his scions to not just hit the books, but cause their teachers the minimum amount of grief. The Old Man’s determination to see his kids educated was no doubt inspired by his history; the Great Depression, which forced millions of kids into the hard labor market, robbed him of his chance for an education (he was forced to work, at the age of 13, for a coal company just to help keep the family afloat) and he was hell-bent to make sure his kids got those sheepskins whether or not they saw the utility. It is no small irony that the Greatest Generation made sure their progeny got the best of educational chances and those recipients, the Baby Boomers, pissed this advantage away by allowing the educational community to jump on the bandwagon of one unproven, feel-good fad after the next. Gotta’ also agree with you Joe about these incentives being expensive; have you ever priced those steel-toed, Red Wing work boots? They ain’t cheap…….
The amazing thing is that without either Big Brother or a steel toe, reality provides the incentive free of charge. Don’t gain the ability to provide enough value for yourself or those around you and you will starve. Work hard and the people around you will value you, pay you well for your contribution, and you can provide assistance to whomever you so choose. You can even pay for the education of the children of the needy…with money you earned.
I don’t think you can say that education for boomers was better than it is today. If you could turn back the clock you could test them but you would have to go home or to an institution to test a lot of special needs kids. Kids would test better on Protestant Christianity as that was regularly taught in public schools. Kicking kids may have been more acceptable back then but so was a lot of child abuse and many of the victims may not have lived to be able to be tested. Some people claim that the segregated schools taught better but I doubt it.
(Baby Boomers) would test better on Protestant Christianity as that was regularly taught in public schools. Kicking kids may have been more acceptable back then but so was a lot of child abuse and many of the victims may not have lived to be able to be tested. (Joe Lacey) Yeah Joe, back in the day the Old Bandito pulled an all-nighter studying for a urine test he subsequently flunked. You’re right that the Boomers would probably test better than today’s kids in religion, but there is suspicion they might have higher in such now academically neglected areas as writing a coherent paragraph, speaking an intelligble sentence, understanding a simple written directive and making change for a fiver. And the Old Bandito hates to tell anyone they’ve been the victim of historical revisionism, but you’re incorrect if you portray the Greatest Generation parental model as abusive. Nosirree, dear Joe, they were disciplinarians, and the difference and distinction is as huge as Kirstie Alley’s derriere. These were loving and devoted people who, when the center cities began their 40 year plunge into inlivability, abandoned ship and hocked their futures to give their kids the educational bona-fides the Great Depression robbed from them. No, dear Joe, the infanticide and neglect you’re projecting on the long-ago is a rather recent invention. But methinks, dear Joe, you’ve missed perhaps the most salient and germane point about the previous post about the steel-toed Old Man; and that was the Old Bandito had an Old Man. America’s educational slide mirrors the destruction of the nuclear family in general and the black family in particular. With the black illegitimacy hovering yearly at around 70 percent (it was around 22 percent in the early 1960s) it fulfills the prophecy of Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In an earlier time, there was an unwritten but almost sacred trust that Uncle Sam didn’t know as much about quality parenting as the typical Dad and Mom, and government was loathe to intervene in family issues other than the most extreme conditions. The Great Society government threw that trust into the boneyard with the creation… Read more »
Nobody is questioning that these were loving and devoted people but its a myth that they left the inner city for better schools. Forty years ago they left the city because they didn’t want to live with African-Americans. Had you never heard the term “blockbuster” or are you trying to deny that this part of our history never took place. They moved to very white areas outside the city with school districts no better than the urban districts of the day.
Some other points:
You can suspect that kids today would test better but there is no evidence of that. Kids born out of wedlock probably weren’t in school at all back then.
People born out of wedlock began to rise before the Great Society.
“Boomers would probably test better than today’s kids in religion”. That’s a misrepresentation of what I said. Public schools taught evangelical christianity, not religion in general.
deny that this part of our history ever took place
Forty years ago they left the city because they didn’t want to live with African-Americans. Had you never heard the term “blockbuster” or are you trying to deny that this part of our history never took place. (Joe Lacey) It was once a joy to drive down Roberts Boulevard. Running parallel to the Great Miami River just east of the West Third Street bridge, the street was a downtown, working class enclave complete with the Mom and Pop stores and neighborhood bars so common at the time. But one day, some folks in Washington and Dayton decided that it was more important for truckers to get from the Gem City to the Queen City five minutes quicker, so out came the wrecking ball and this neighborhood is no more. Ditto for the caucasians on East Grand Avenue and Best Street (where the Old Bandito’s main squeeze lived). After I-75 was complete, construction on US 35 commenced which required the tearing down of thousands of working class homes in the downtown, Twin Towers and lower Belmont neighborhoods. That done, the urban planning geniuses decided that the areas known as Burns-Jackson, the Oregon District and St. Anne’s Hill had too many old houses, and out came the wrecking ball again. Just in these three projects, thousands of white, middle class residents had been given the heave-ho from Dayton, so why not the ‘burbs. And though the race hustlers and hysterical historians would have you believe that the Great Society Urban Renewal initiatives led to upheaval in minority neighborhoods, in Dayton, it was the caucasian working class that got the eviction notices. Besides that, dear Joe, movement and transition are the one unique American experience, and has been doing long before the arrival of Joe Lacey to give their motives his seal of approval. In 1967, the city erupted in racial violence so severe the scars can still be seen. In the 1970s, downtown was so out of control that a Dayton cop and a reknown civil rights leader (W.S. McIntosh) were shot dead at high noon at Third and Main. Also in the 1970s, the feds decided that… Read more »
“all whites are racists” Who are you quoting? You just wrote a rambling paragraph that doesn’t even try to defend your previous lie that people left Dayton 40 years ago for better schools. That’s only true if better means whiter. 1970 was a very different time. People voted in big numbers for “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever”. Go ahead and give me a big “F” for not turning a blind eye to the truth about our history. Now you’re trying to tell us that it was the evicted renters from Burns Jackson that populated Washington Township? Give me a break.
And with regard to bussing children miles accross town, I’m actually leading the drive to stop that. It is the charter advocates from the right who are fighting to keep cross town bussing.
Someone actually argues that white flight in 1970 was not about race …and 5 of your blog readers think that’s brilliant? Do you get a lot of holocaust denyers on here too?
Probably correct Joe. IT WAS TOTALLY RACISM or in the case of JOKEWOOD Classism but if you deny it then it is easier to be subtle about it today. The rise in middle class white home values was directly related to “the wealth” created. In Dayton….stagnation.
Jokewoodites at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution were importing ignorant immigrants (briars, ridgerunners ie my kin folk) into the city to work in the factories, but bringing the children into the Dayton school system would have diluted and polluted the education of the Chosen (lucky, generationaly up the ladder group) so with the Flood as a pretext Oakwood and the race away from the other began. That legacy destroyed Dayton and is ultimately why NCR and others left. If you do not know the source of the cancer you cannot cure it and so Dayton goes.
Racism and Classism are the root causes and too not acknowledge it is ignorance.
The election of Obama was perfect for the business elite as he is doing what he is told and now they will turn on him and take more because the endemic racism of the white man is palpable and fauxable and playing the middle class whites against the other takes the eye off the prize. No wonder republicans want charters it destroys education and makes Oakwoods everywhere. NICE!
Someone actually argues that white flight in 1970 was not about race …and 5 of your blog readers think that’s brilliant? (Joe Lacey)
Well, Joe, if movement to the burbs was all about race, then how do you explain the suburban exodus in places like Rapid City, Couer D’ Alene and Winnipeg, all cities that had no minority population in the 1970s, and scant minority presence now? And how, dear Joe, do you reconcile the fact that the last 30 years has shown a large movement of blacks to suburbans? Are the good folks of Trotwood and Jefferson Township guilty of “black flight?” Or how can you dismiss such reasons as the flight of business to the burbs and the explanation that people are just following the jobs? Or the fact that upward mobility, as exemplified by the move to the new house in burbs is what this whole American experience is about? And perhaps, dear Joe, those five readers who gave the thumbs up didn’t think the Old Bandito’s arguments were all that good, they were just sensitive about being called bigots and thought your ideas were that bad……… (and no halocaust deniers were consulted in the writing of this response)
You got this wrong Bandito:
the last 30 years has shown a large movement of blacks to suburbans
My pseudoscientific study of hiphop videos inicates that it is Escaldes. I think Suburbans are more popular among the Apalachian folk.
We’re talking about Dayton 40 years ago, not Rapid City or where-ever else your trying to throw into the conversation. And no one said every move to the suburbs was exclusively about race 40 years ago. No one called anyone a bigot. All we got here is the Old Bandito saying that white flight 40 years ago wasn’t about race and claiming it was about other things. It must have been just a freak accident that nearly everyone moving in 1970 was white and they moved from Dayton to all white suburbs. We’re not talking about Trotwood and Jefferson Township 30 years ago, although the housing stock in those communities is a lot older than 30 years old. If Black Daytonians started moving to these communities just 30 years ago they were moving into all white suburbs.
“And no one said every move to the suburbs was exclusively about race 40 years ago.” – Joe Lacey
“Nobody is questioning that these were loving and devoted people but its a myth that they left the inner city for better schools. Forty years ago they left the city because they didn’t want to live with African-Americans.” – Joe Lacey
Sorry, but you are painting with a pretty broad brush here. I certainly read it as you implying the vast vast vast majority of those who left Dayton left for racial reasons.
When an African American family moved into an all white Dayton neighborhood back in the 60’s and then within a few years the entire neighborhood was African American how can you overlook that race was a big factor. I’m not saying all suburbanites are racist. It was a different time. A lot of people in 1970 grew up without knowing African Americans. They didn’t work with them, go to school with them or attend the same social functions with them. My childhood neighborhood was all Irish American. We moved for several reasons (family of 9 in a 3 bedroom house was a big one) but I know Dad was the subject of some serious animosity for he had sold to an African American family.
Boy what a shallow existence….. No wonder they hate us…taking their oil and living shallow…Nice!
It was great to do title work on properties in the 80’s as you could still read on the documents that it was forbidden to sell the property to African Americans.
Well Bandito the rise of Fire was well on its way in the 70’s as the cars need land and industrialists bought it all killed public transit and sold a piece of paradise. The rich got richer and we all lived the American nightmare becoming detached from the environment as we gobbled up our own oil and now we will spend our treasure to continue this way of life even when the data says it’s over.
So the only conclusion that can be drawn is the you ole Bandito have analysed the date incorrectly to suit or soothe your world view. It still does not make it correct, no matter the wit in which it is delivered.
I’ve stayed out of this – because I’ve had a ton of work to do- and, because I think the commenters have acted like adults. However- I can say for absolute surety that people moved out of Dayton because of busing- be it because they didn’t like integration, or because they saw it as tearing apart their neighborhoods- both of which it did.
The return to neighborhood schools is the first step in the right direction for Dayton and an opportunity to start putting things back together again. However, I’ve got to say that now that I have 2 school age kids in the house- I’m unimpressed by what passes for homework these days.
It seems that elementary education is all about filling in the blank, matching, and any number of other “worksheet” based “learning” there is ZERO critical thinking, engagement, creativity in the exercises. We’re producing trained monkeys and an awful lot of wasted paper.
That video that Jesse liked to- was dead on the money. Thinking isn’t taking place.
In today’s New York Times there is an article about “Singapore Math” – yet another solution to better test scores- yet they admit, everyone learns differently. I was caught with “new math” in the early 70’s and my math skills suck. I agree that we need to explore different ways to teach our kids- but, not by worksheets and standardized testing. I also wonder why we haven’t accepted the digital reality- these kids will always be connected to the Internet – ignoring it, and the things technology can replace (worksheets)- is costing us huge amounts of money.
Considering the books, the worksheets, the test forms- could all be delivered digitally- how much money could we save? Why isn’t it at the top of the cost savings list?
Ah- but I ramble. I still thank Mr. Lacy for engaging on this forum. I respect his willingness to come down and mix with the people of this community in an informal setting. It’s refreshing- and it’s why he has my support every time he runs.
I mentioned this topic to a retired principal at the diner this morning. He said the flight from Dayton was definitely triggered by busing. Additionally he mentioned there were a few holdouts for segregation within the district. He recalled a principal at Shoup Mill that refused to integrate the african american kids being bussed to that school by simply creating a 3rd grade class just for them complete with an a-m teacher.
He stressed that both white and black families exited when their kids couldn’t attend their neighborhood school. The main reason being was the ‘long’ bus rides of 30-45 minutes each way.
Having lived in the Philadelphia burbs and in downtown Boston I heard the same arguments in those areas. I also heard the white flight argument. Whatever the reasons were we can’t change the past. We can try to learn from our mistakes and as Lacey points out try to avoid busing decisions that may lead to additional departures. There are better ways than forced busing. I have seen some success in other regions (Cambridge Mass for example) with elective magnet schools that offer advanced curriculum but many of those seem to have been abandoned (Joe please correct me if I’m wrong) because they did not achieve the court required deseg guidelines.
Jstults and David,
Thanks for taking the time to watch the video I linked above.
I am providing another link that shows the general desire to learn of children in more depressed parts of the world, where public education is not available. This video, in conjunction with the other, demonstrates the drastic gap between our education system that crushes the desire for education for a large percentage of those who attend and those cultures in which education and information are precious.
We are crushing the curiosity of our children. It is tragic. I think that Rob is right and public education is a large part of the problem, some of you agree. Others think that the public system is the only possible way and that it is only in need of tweaks, some others agree. One thing I think we can all agree on…we are hurting our students and many are no longer able to compete with children of other educational systems in the international market in which we are engaged.