John Boehner needs to do a better job

In one of those wonderful moments of total clarity, John Boehner hits the nail on the head:

During Monday’s speech, Boehner said Dayton needs to do a better job educating its youth.

“I’ve been rather critical of the Dayton business community for not taking a more active role in fixing Dayton schools,” said Boehner, who supports increased competition among schools, and alternatives to public schools.

“If you’re poor and you’re locked in a rotten neighborhood, you’re probably going to get locked into a rotten school,” Boehner said. “I just think it’s the most unfair thing that we do.”

via Boehner chides Obama for acknowledging Chavez.

Sure, John- if they weren’t poor, because you’ve done a great job of making sure that companies like Exxon have record profits, while our jobs, our retirements, our cities are going bankrupt- thanks to your deregulation of financial markets.

The most unfair thing we do is pay the CEO of DP&L over a million a year to supply electricity- which is as essential as water in the modern world.

The second most unfair thing we do, is sell our political offices to the highest bidder. John- please fix those for us too.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!

Leave a Reply

13 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
MikeDrexel Dave SparksBruce KettelleDavid Lauritg Recent comment authors
Notify of
Mike Bock

David, I’m usually happy to join Boehner bashers in their bashing.  But, if, as you say, Boehner is hitting the nail on the head with wonderful clarity in his comments about public education, then, his comments about education deserve a thoughtful response. 

Public education is a huge system with many overlapping parts.  It is the system itself that needs radical transformation.  The usual actions to improve education — building new buildings, increasing requirements for teachers, implementing new technologies (like laptops for every student), aligning the curriculum — at best, only will make marginal improvement.  And making marginal improvement is far from the improvement that is needed.   The transformative improvement education needs can only happen if the core system, the organizational structure of the system, is radically transformed.  This transformation needs to happen in Oakwood and Centerville as well as in Dayton.  We simply must stop replicating the present system, but, as it is, many people see their livlihood connected to sustaining the present system, and so, any ideas for transformative change is fiercely resisted.  And so, like a lot of huge multi-faceted problems now facing us, what is desperately needed is effective leadership that can help create consensus for a vision for long term change and can create a plan by which that long term change can be implemented.  Ideas that might be fiercely resisted in the short term could be supported in the long term, as people retire and a new generation rises to take their place.  It seems to me, as a candidate for City Commision, you need to begin to aggressively show ideas of how effective leadership would work to bring a better future to Dayton.  The Dayton City Commission, for example, could fund a task force that would envision Dayton is ten years;  any Dayton worthy of such envisioning would include the establishment of a vitalized and transformed educational system.


It’s interesting that you think the district needs new buildings. In fact, the last thing the district needs is new buildings. The money they spend on new buildings is a disgrace, and could be better used in many other ways. (Interesting that after the millions spent on the Stivers rehab, many students there say they prefer the old Homewood (Julienne) campus.)  Good teachers can teach in a room without so much as a piece of chalk. What they have, what is ESSENTIAL is the ability to inspire their students. Spend more money on teachers. The kids don’t need laptops, they don’t need more technology, they need to WANT to learn. Only a teacher can do that.

It’s downright weird that you singled out Dayton, Oakwood and Centerville– the only area schools that were recognized by US News and World Report as being among the top public high schools in the country. Dayton has a vital educational system . . . what it needs is a better pr firm. And for people who think that throwing money and technology at a problem (Fund a task force? Oh puh-leeze) is the answer to sit down and listen. 


One high school might be doing OK, but the rest of the Dayton Public Schools system is abysmal.

Some stats, comparing DPS Ohio proficiency test scores with other large urban districts:

And more stats, comparing SAT & ACT results between districts.


But Jeff, will building new buildings (in a town that has a glut of buildings) and paying for technology going to do ANYTHING for those stats? Stivers and DECA have the leg up, but they still have to struggle to pay teachers and adjuncts, while the district burns up money on other unnecessary projects. No wonder they can’t keep good teaching staff at every school in the district.


I’d say things that make for interior comfort, like AC and reliable heating would contribute in some way to the teaching situation.

Also things like roof repairs and window repairs to preserve the interior from leaks and helping energy efficiency will reduce operating costs. 

These are just indirect things, though. 


But, yeah, you can get all these physical condition upgrades by renovating, too.

The larger issue of education and how to improve it that Boehner is talking about?  Tough nut to crack. Teachers can only do so much.


We need to stop focusing on WHAT we’re teaching our kids and instead teach them HOW to learn.  Skills like problem solving, logic, creative thinking, financial literacy, communication.   We have to prepare our kids for life, not for a test. 

We have to get past the 9 month school year – with three months off to farm the fields.  We have to stop preparing our kids for factory jobs that have long since been sent overseas.  We need teachers who are engaging and passionate and who can bring lessons to life – whether it’s in a historic building, a brand new one or a former office building with cubicles and partitions.  And we need a union who can see the big picture instead of immediately responding to a longer school year with “not unless we’re paid more money”.   

David Lauri

Teachers do deserve to be paid more money though, not just for an expanded school year but to attract better teachers.

Bruce Kettelle

Ohio teacher salaries have improved  since the ninety’s compared to other states.  Ohio is above the national average and ranks 13th on the list.  There is however some dramatic differences within the state from district to district which brings us back to the unconstitutional school funding issue.

AFT salary study

Drexel Dave Sparks

They produce engineers of great renown in buildings with no power in India. Just sayin’.

David Lauri

LOL @ Drexel Dave, think of all the money Dayton Public Schools could save if they simply turned off the electricity and running water in its buildings.  No power for you!


Don’t just blame the schools.  Parents have a big part in the development of their kids and helping them stay focused, motivated, and getting them eager and ready to learn.  A child that comes to a building with no desire to learn, won’t.

Home schooled kids have access to a smaller intellectual base, fewer teaching resources (books, technology, etc), and fewer peers.  Perhaps not all of these reductions aren’t bad – especially the fewer peers portion.  This seems to be the most compelling argument that many home schooling parents use.  Rarely do we ever hear about how terrible home schooled kids turn out and their resources are significantly smaller than those of the public school system. 

In this case it’s easy to blame the economics, but the intangibles such as students, parents, and staff also need to be considered. 

David Lauri

It’s a vicious cycle.  Kids who have parents who aren’t good for whatever reasons at parenting often don’t do well in school, have kids before they’re ready, aren’t good parents themselves, rinse, repeat. 

Heterosexuals get all out of joint when I say this but really we ought to put birth control in the water and require licenses for procreation.  (Yeah, yeah, slippery slope, who gets to decide, etc., but really, just any heterosexual couple who wants to have kids is allowed to?!)