How to make Dayton a more education centric community

There is no doubt that educational achievement is good for a community’s economy. Good schools are still one of the prime factors driving residential real estate values. And while Dayton public schools are oft maligned and score poorly on state report cards, we come back to the basics of computer programming: garbage in, garbage out.

There is overwhelming evidence that poor kids show up to school years behind wealthier ones. That a child’s vocabulary is directly related to the economic status of its parents. This is where government intervention for the best interests of society is most called for- and yet, the idea of the government intervening is contrary to the ideas of personal and religious freedoms. Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Citizen, little George’s vocabulary is only 500 words and should be 2,000 right now, we’re going to place him in a boarding school? Not likely.

McDonald’s recent marketing push is to hand out books as part of happy meals- putting the company in the lead of advancing literacy and book ownership in our country. It’s sad when a company with a clown for a mascot is more responsible than our government in advancing literacy rates.

Dayton has to change its culture to reward educational attainment. Yes, I realize I’m the guy who hung 250 basketball nets- encouraging kids to strive for the NBA instead of being a National Merit Scholar, but, with limited resources I was looking for actions instead of words. Once elected, I have some ideas we can implement to change our culture.

We now charge kids to get into our rec centers. I propose through a partnership with Dayton Public Schools that kids with a B average or better- get free admission. I also plan to provide the schools with the ability to grant passes to kids based on doing well as rewards for achievement.

With my creation of basketball and soccer leagues across the city (the two sports that require the least amount of equipment and provide excellent aerobic workouts) – we will waive fees for kids with B’s and above. Strict eligibility rules will require at least a C+ to participate.

Neighborhoods will be rewarded with funds for neighborhood improvements based on tutoring and reading sessions organized in the community for kids. It’s time to open up our churches and neighborhood schools and centers, during the week to make them a place to focus on personal growth. Adult literacy skills will also be part of the programming. As the first phase of my Digital Dayton strategy, these locations will be hooked up first with gigabit fiber to provide true high-speed access in all parts of our city to all our citizens.

This doesn’t really address the need to grow our kids’ vocabulary in the critical first 4 years. To do this, I believe it’s time to work to improve public daycare programs. As an incentive to help Dayton employers compete- I’d like to re-introduce an idea from my first campaigns 20 years ago- of offering subsidized day care for residents who live and work in the city. In the long run, this can have a greater impact on moving people from welfare to work than anything else we can do. To help support this, I think that we should ramp up educational programming in high schools and at Sinclair for early child education and development- and have these students get work/study credits and pay for working in day care. I think this is more important than Sinclair providing subsidized training for defense contractors in Greene County- which was announced today (another instance of Montgomery county taxpayers subsidizing other counties).

These programs will not be ones that will offer short-term results- they are part of a long-term strategy to transform Dayton into a learning community- focused on increasing our social capital. Equal access to education and educational opportunity via the Internet- is, as far as I’m concerned, a basic right- right up there with “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Help me get elected so we can move forward as a community, economically and educationally.

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