Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt in Dayton Public Schools

Lori Ward Superintendent of Dayton Public schools?Gee thanks Dayton Board of Education. It’s been about a month since you decided not to renew the contracts of Superintendent Lori Ward and Treasurer Craig Jones.
Usually, bold moves like that have the next step of hiring a replacement. In an organization that’s failing as absolutely as yours, this lackadaisical approach to naming the next superintendent and treasurer is only achieving one thing: FUD. That’s Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt- a great strategy for failing organizations.

This is the time of year, when other districts are looking to hire for the next school year. Without a person in charge, the smart people (the ones you want to keep) either think they have a line on the top job- or, they start to entertain offers. Either way, considering DPS was unable to fill 30 teaching positions this year (an indication of failing leadership if there ever was one) every day we go without a decision, is another day that the kids lose, the staff loses, and the city loses.

The old adage if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen still applies. And, even if this board can stand the heat, it’s not proven if any of them actually know how to cook. The latest flurry of sideshow distractions like reconfiguring the district to bring back middle schools, the 1-to-1 computer rollout, and the ongoing racial tensions over security and guilt by association, make observers wonder if the board has any idea of what a functioning board should be doing.

When Trotwood pillaged DPS last year and stole top teachers, principals and administrators it should have been a serious wake-up call  about the superintendent’s grasp and connection with staff. Retention of top people is a good indication of competence.

If the board, led by the young Ph.D., can’t figure out a plan of action, maybe turning in resignations might be the right move. Inaction isn’t action. And, twiddling your thumbs while the district hangs in the lurch is unacceptable.

Make a decision. Either renew a contract, or audition and name a replacement- but do it soon.

The clock is already ticking to the state takeover.

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