Joe Lacey needs a clue

I filmed an interview of Joe Lacey with Mike Robinette on Joe’s school board candidate slate- and his “ideas” about DPS.  I was totally unimpressed by him, his answers, his demeanor and bearing- I’d almost rather watch GWB talk- and that pains me no end.

So, when a back link to my site showed that Dayton Daily News educational blogger Scott Elliot had blogged my DaytonOS post on the poor campaign lit– I found Lacey had made yet another baseless accusation of my lack of substance (a position the DDN once took pride in making). I’ve included his whole quote:

School board candidates: Out of touch? | Get on the Bus | Observations on schools, kids, teachers, teaching and education by Scott Elliott, Dayton Daily News
By Joe Lacey

October 5, 2007 10:49 PM | Link to this
I must protest that I think my card does have some good information. I designed it to promote the three challengers, Taylor, Nerny and Crisp, because they represent change and I give examples of some bad board policies carried on by the current board. I point out the fact that the current board does not hold the administration to a budget, a bad board fiscal decision. All of the current board members but Jeffrey Mims have defended the $20 million purchase of the new administration building, another bad board decision that I point out on the card. The card also suggests that our historic school buildings don’t have much of a chance under the current board. I think that this is pretty clear from the board’s history. I included my phone number if anyone wants to call me for any more information and my email address was omitted by a printing error. If David Esrati is so interested in school issues he should address those that I raise on my card…rather than how pretty or low tech my card is.
(bold and italics mine)

I’ve been interested in school issues since I first ran against Clay Dixon and Mike Turner in the Mayors race back in the late 80’s. Turner used to mock me for suggesting the city sue to lift the DeSeg order- and then later took credit when he got it lifted. At this point- Joe was still a Democratic Party pissant with a patronage job (not much different than now- only he’s a school board member too).

I’ve got a whole category of suggestions on how to fix DPS. More than he’s got anywhere- or any of the “Candidates” had.

And the thing that bugs me more than anything- by posting my opinion on DaytonOS we gave people a real comment stage- unlike the lame one on the Dayton Daily News site- with e-mail updates to those who comment- the ability to use HTML to link to sources- and to continue the discussion for as long as you want. No comments. The DDN blog- has plenty of great comments- and I can’t post a reply now- since they’ve closed it (without telling you until after you’ve written a response). The real discussion is here- or at DaytonOS- not on Scott Elliot’s blog.

Daytonians need to wake up. And, Joe Lacey needs to get his own blog- before he continues to talk trash.

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17 Comments on "Joe Lacey needs a clue"

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Joe Lacey

I never accused you of not having an interest in school issues. I simply posted that in your criticism of my admittedly inexpensive, black and white, palm card you did not address the issues brought up by the card such as fiscal policy or historic school buildings. I wouldn’t call that trash talk or accusing you of lacking substance. My comments were directed to your specific posting about a palm card, not to you as a person.

With regard to the taped interview, I think we agreed as you were taping it that I was too hunched over, not upright enough. I agree that my public speaking needs a lot of work and that I have the most trouble with taped or live broadcast interviews.

With regard to my answers, I would be interested to know which ones he had problems with. I don’t know that I was trying to “impress” people with myself, but rather inform people about what’s going on with our school board.

David Esrati
David Esrati

Thanks for stepping up and replying.
I’d like to see some real plans on how the DPS can clearly communicate its strengths- and points of differentiation to it’s core constituency.
I’d also like to see some gutsy hail mary plays- like laptops for all students and a paperless digital workflow.
I’d like to see a unified sports program. A central tutoring location- but, even if these are only ideas that I have- I’d like to see them discussed- and debated by the school board.
I didn’t hear any vision of a new future for DPS- how to change perception- how to grow enrollment from you- I was hoping for a vision for your slate- that’s what got the original “Kids first” team elected.
For as long as you’ve been in this political game- I’d think you would have better public speaking skills. You’re not lacking the brains- you’re in a position to make change happen-
time for you to bring your “A” game.

Joe Lacey

What got the original Kid’s First team elected was $200,000 in tv time with the message, “neighborhood schools with more discipline and more accountablility”. That was a poll driven message that was never the central focus of Kid’s First. Since taking office, they opened four new schools, DECA, two single sex schools and the technology school. They’ve also closed several schools that, once the deseg order was lifted, would have moved toward neighborhood schools. All of this has moved us further away from a neighborhood school system and to a system requiring more busing. The promise of more discipline is vague enough that it appeals to the large block of voters who don’t understand why we don’t go to a system of corporal punishment and “more accountability” is equally vague.
My vision of a system more focused on teacher quality may not be as flashy but more sound and routed in best practice and research. It may be to simple but sometimes those are the best solutions.
I appreciate David’s criticism’s of the system but so much of it seems to point to problems with communication and selling the district. We could have the best Madison Ave salesmen and still be the second worst performer in the state. I just don’t think that selling the system is our biggest problem.

David Esrati
David Esrati

Joe- yet you admit, what got the “kids first” team elected was $200K in TV and a message.
Every student we loose to charter schools costs the district- every resident that’s afraid to put their kids in the DPS hurts our property values- and the city. Somewhere here, we need a voice of confidence.
Maybe we need to also point out that the $200K and the message- came from Reynolds and Reynolds corporate HQ- who later benefited from the crazy deals for their former real estate. It’s not too late to sue Reynolds and recover some of that premium we paid- as we helped usher a major part of the tax base out of the district.
Show some balls. Reynolds had no problems paying a carpet bagger 9.1 million to sell out. They should be investigated for the scandal and held accountable.
Lets get serious- just having better teachers isn’t going to get you better students unless you tell someone that you have better teachers. Stivers is successful- and is actually having people pay to send their kids to it- from out of the district. That’s success. Too bad the school board has little to do with it.


David, I have heard you in previous postings talk about a ‘unified sports program’ i.e. one varsity football team for all DPS, same goes for basketball, swimming, gymnastics, baseball I would assume. All this would be headquarter in a sparkling downtown rec center. Unfortunately this would never happen in city as large and diverse in Dayton. Just to be in compliance for the Ohio High School Athletic Association regulations you can only have one team per school. You just can’t form ‘All-Star’ Clubs of all the public school kids for each sport. This could work in a smaller city with one high school, like Kettering, which has made their high school and junior high campuses a one-stop-shop for all things sports and recreation. But Dayton would have to consolidate its 5000-6000 high school students at one location to do all the things that you keep trying to sell athletically as a fix for the district. No one in their right mind would push that as a solution. If you want pride back, push for district-wide neighborhood schools and give those with no skin in the game a reason to be involved. Those people are the property owners in neighborhoods that are filled with children, but for the last 30 years watched those kids get bussed across town and made no connections with the school around the corner because they didn’t know the students or parents. This killed Dayton neighborhoods and even now there are only a limited number of ‘Neighborhood School Centers’. This is a relatively easy thing to fix and would have immediate impact. In a city were only 17% of the voting population have children in the public school system, you need more people with a reason to vote yes on levy’s and bond issues. Neighborhood schools would do this. The sports would improve too.

Scott Elliott


You should check in on my blog more often. The comments close out automatically after a post gets old. I have the tech guys fix this once to leave them open, but it got monkeyed up again somehow. I went in and manually opened the comments back up for you on the post in question if you would like to comment at Get on the Bus, although I see you have gotten a lively back-and-fourth on this issue going over here now. I’ll also share your feedback on using HTML in comments and e-mail alerts internally. Those are good suggestions. Don’t be a stranger!


David Esrati
David Esrati

We’ve got an all star program now- like it or not. Stivers has a soccer team- others don’t. At one point, they also had a swim program- others didn’t- see, rules get bent and nobody notices- that’s the problem with busing in the first place.
As to me not being in my right mind- that’s a matter of opinion. We are an urban district in a heap of shit- and if you don’t try radical solutions- you don’t get out of the hole. Any smart general looks to build on his strengths- and deceive the enemy about weaknesses- this is part of a rebuilding process.

Scott- thanks for the note- and opening back the comments.
I don’t think the DDN is truly interested in real blog capabilities- they just look at it as a way to serve more ads. They are afraid links may move eyeballs off their site- which may be true- but it’s the only way to do it right.

I’ve tried meeting with Dr. Mack about ideas to move things forward- I’ve tried talking to school board members, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in trying new ideas. So, I stick to posting on my site and



RE your comment to Pedro:

We’ve got an all star program now- like it or not. Stivers has a soccer team- others don’t. At one point, they also had a swim program- others didn’t- see, rules get bent and nobody notices- that’s the problem with busing in the first place.”

Stivers soccer team is representative of an all-star program?? Rules get bent??? They only have soccer because they don’t have big budget football, and their soccer team had to be co-ed at least one year recently to comply with Title IX requirements because not enough kids wanted to play (most are focused as they should be on academics and art). And how is that the problem with busing in the first place?? Your comments are all over the place: what the hell are you talking about??

PS My questions above are all rhetorical; no need to respond and put your foot in your mouth again.

There are some really interesting and entertaining comments to this post and I just can’t resist putting in my $.02 as well. First – David, laptops for every child are NOT the answer, even if they are Macs. Yes, to have a chance in the workplace DPS graduates must have the ability to use technology, BUT first they be able to do the basic “three R’s.” Without those fundamental skills, they won’t be able to grasp the technology either (even a Mac). Until these kids learn to speak in moderately proper English, compose a complete sentence, and do basic math, no employer is going to want to hire them. They also need to be taught logical skills so they can think and reason. Once this has been mastered, they can also master the technology in the workplace and go on to conquer the world. Second – What will “paperless digital workflow” do for the students? Teach them to scan documents? Yeah, that’s a skill that’s really in demand! In all seriousness, technology like this is cool, but once again, until the students master the basics, technology does them no good. Third – Why is it necessary to make personal attacks against Mr. Lacy (as well as many others that dare to not be everything that you want them to be)? I’ve met Mr. Lacy and found him to be a really nice, decent guy even if I don’t necessarily agree with his politics. Calling him a “pissant” and talking about how boring his presentation skills are does nothing to legitimize your position. If anything, it deminishes any valuable observations that you may actually have. Besides that, I believe Mr. Lacy is an accountant and they are not exactly known for their public speaking abilities and vibrant personalities. Hmmm, could it be that your comments regarding people’s personal attributes has anything to do with refusal of Dr. Mack and other board members to meet with you and discuss your ideas? Think about it…You don’t sell something to someone by telling them they’re stupid not to buy it. Fourth – Athletics is… Read more »
David Esrati
David Esrati

1) Buy a computer one time- or buy a ton of text books that become obsolete the moment they are printed. Besides saving money on books, and having up to date course work, they have a legitimate tool to master.
As to paperless- I don’t think you’ve ever bought paper for a school district, or paid for the trash hauling (no, they can’t burn it in incinerators in the basement like they did when we were kids). We’re talking at least a million or two a year on paper- never mind copiers, printers, and the service that goes with them.
3 – Personal attacks. Yeah, I do tend to attack- and it’s a bad habit. But, being accused of not having any ideas on the DDN site- compared to the 3 sentence palm card- that’s pure and utter bullshit. The patronage job thing is how we ended up with Matt Joseph, Nan Whaley, and a host of other ineffective “leaders”- it’s valid.
4- Of course athletics aren’t the answer- you obviously didn’t read the whole SportsPlex category. It’s about pride- it’s about a true community asset. And- it’s a way to differentiate the DPS from the suburbs. It’s something we can do- that they can’t. It’s not just sports- it’s sports with good grades when connected to a performance swipe card- like a life meter in a video game.
5- It’s Pizza Bill- not, Pizza Joe- and, he has special privileges on this site to say as he pleases because he’s not only a client, he feeds us damn good pizza.
Enjoy your dinner- and please, dig a bit deeper into the ideas- and then- since they are out in the open, and you can comment, or build upon them, do.
This is the opposite of how our “Leaders” do things behind closed doors.
Thanks for your .02 cents.


But what happens when these kids ruin/destroy their laptops just like they ruin/destroy books……….?…………… who pays for it, the poor family?

Giving them a computer will not change their behavior. But I do see the need for them, I just want to know what happens when “my dog ate my computer.”

And about the sports thing …….. At Oakwood and Miami Valley (which used to make you participate) you have a chance to develop team skills as well as physical tools and proper work out habits that benefit kids in the future, ie jogging and working out, etc. It is not the athletic success but rather the real chance to participate. AND THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT, among other things. 84% of Oakwood Students play in at least ONE sport (this is coming from a yearbook that I read) and it used to be 100% of Miami Valley students (I don’t know if that is still the case.) If nothing else, these kids learn how to lose gracefully. But the fact is that most have a chance to play something, be a part of a team, participate, build physical and mental toughness, develop good habits, etc……

And certainly school should be about the acedemics, but physical development is important. Go to Oakwood and Centerville and see the number of people jogging or walking, and then head over to East Dayton (where I live) and there are NO ADULTS ever walking or jogging……….ask these adults where they went to school, did they participate in athletics while they were in high school…… it is much more than a “one time” thing, it leads to better health, positive self image and discipline – things that help make kids “better” people.

In DPS, which have a lot more kids, this is not the case. But if it were the case it would benefit them in ways that are hard to measure, but certainly last a lifetime. That is why a SportsPlex is needed, and David is right, it would bring PRIDE – which is priceless.

David Esrati
David Esrati

response to Gene about “destroying laptops”
Can be had for $200 a piece if you buy a million- but $400 a piece if you buy 1- and give one to a third world country. I’m sure DPS could work a deal on 16,000 of them for somewhere between the two prices.


My question is at what rate would they need to be repurchases, if they are destroyed/need updated/any and all of the above “replacement” costs?

Books can be used for many years, at a cheaper rate, and if destroyed a student pays a fraction of $200 dollars to replace, or at least that is how it was when I was burning text books.

I think it is a must that students have and use computers, but 16k is at a low price of 3.2 million bucks……is that every year? Of course not, but when and where does it end, bc they will never leave text books altogether. Is 3.2 million a small part of that budget? I cant find any numbers on that….. I will keep looking…… but it is food for thought….. bc it is partially my money. Just wondering if I could get more clear cut numbers and replacement/ upgrade costs….. cant find it myself, too busy…….

David Esrati
David Esrati

in case you didn’t know-
Text books can cost well over $200 per student.
Yes- computers need work- but the data doesn’t become obsolete- and the OLPC computer is built for durability.
Plus- you can’t write a book in a text book- you can’t take a test in a text book…
c’mon- lets not keep making excuses. We’re in the computer age.


Over $200 per student is fine……. but text books, like where I went to high school, lasted 10 plus years….. even a few that lasted longer. I witnessed this bc I have many older siblings…….. most schools with fiscal responsibility and proven track records of good teaching can do this, then again we are talking about DPS.

I agree with the computers, they are needed……. just wanted some numbers to back it up. I am partially paying for it, as are you. I am not making excuses, just want to know how much it would REALLY cost, God forbid.

Besides, if it is a money issue, you can write a book AND take a test for less than a buck……..paper and pencil.

I don’t understand why I, a tax payer, can’t ask these questions regarding the costs. It is not FREE money, rather MY money, YOUR money, OUR NEIBORS money. Computers are great but if a kid can’t listen and behave in class, then what is the point. Maybe a nice swift kick in the ass will get these kids in line. ALL of the teachers I have ever met say the biggest problem with the kids and their education is a DIRECT result of behavior. The better they behave the more they learn. DPS kids are the worst at this, according to my teacher friends.

Again, computers are needed, but that won’t solve 98% of DPS or the students problems. Just a fact, Jack.


I watched the entire 33 minute video twice, I’m a little embarrased to admit I voted for Joe because he was on the Democrat ticket. There is nothing in that video that leads me to believe Joe is concerned about children in Dayton Ohio getting the best possible education. Instead, he complains that the school budget is controled by the administration, not the board and throws his hands up. He basically admits the school board is a stepping stone for his endevors in the party and plants a few kisses on Gail’s butt. Joe’s agenda seems directed toward saving and rehabbing historic buildings when the only available funding says build new schools. I’d be interested to watch a reinterview with Joe if he wants to discuss educating the children of Dayton Ohio, but he will need to convince me before he gets my next vote.


Neighborhood schools, widely used athletic programs, involved parents, nonpolitical school board members…all of these things and more need to happen.

David, you’re right on the money when it comes to laptops!