Charter city

Twenty-six percent of public school students in Dayton, Ohio attend charter schools, reports the New York Times. That’s the highest percentage in the nation.

The flight of students from the public system has prompted the election of reform school board candidates. But Dayton’s school district remains in “academic emergency” status; some of the new charters also post very low test scores.

The story stresses that the school district gets no state funding for students who attend charter schools. Of course, it gets no funding for students whose parents choose private school either.

Fordham, which is located in Dayton, says the city’s charter students outperformed students in district-run schools in fourth and sixth grade proficiency exams.

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  1. Typical New York Times hatchet job.

    You have to do the arithmetic yourself to find out that the Dayton School District ends up with a per-student budget increase of $957 but there’s plenty of ink about “conservatives have dreamed of” and “But I think that’s just experimenting with young people’s lives.”

    I suppose it wouldn’t do to highlight the fact that if the district went entirely charter the district would still have a $108,000,000 budget.

    It’d be a bureaucratic paradise. Not a kid, not a parent, not a teacher – you don’t think the administrators would split the pot with the teachers now do you? – in sight. Lots of money for junkets, expense accounts, retirement and health benefits, reasonable salary increases and no whining about delapidated school buildings.

  2. I am in a unique position to comment on the situation in the Dayton school system. I entered the system in 1963 as a kindergarten student and left in 1976 as a graduate of what was then Wilbur Wright High School. (Now Wilbur Wright middle school)

    In 1997 I returned to the system for one year as a math teacher. I was on an emergency credential while I was finishing my certification. I had spent many years as an enegineer before becoming a teacher.

    I graduated from what was essentially a good system, not perfect but good. In fact in 1967 when my father was transferred from the Dayton GM Inland plant to the Vandalia GM Inland plant my parents decided to continue living in Dayton since the school system was good at the time. I got a good education in the system and was able to go on to college and get an engineering degree.

    When I returned in 1997 things had changed in the 21 years since I graduated. I was faced with burned out teachers, some of whom had taught me. Quite a few told me to leave the Dayton system to go to a rural, suburban, or private school. They told me that the system was just not the same. I came to find that out very quickly. Teachers I had respected when I was in school were now marking time till retirement. No administrative support, student apathy and pricipals more interested in making sure parents didn’t have anything to complain about. I was told not to push too hard and not to expect much from the students. I was told homework would never be turned in. (They were right). Basically I was told to do crowd control not teach.

    The whole mess for that year I was there depressed me, to see a good system basically collapse. There were even commercials, at the beginning of the school year, running on local stations begging for parents to enroll their children in the Dayton system. The superintendent is on the commercials saying in effect that while you have choices in your childs education the Dayton schools are at the dawn of a new day, all the while the system cannot get off the academic emergency status.