Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Savage Inequalities

The Dayton Daily News reports on a new arts center opened as part of the Centerville schools. Centerville, being an exceptionally affluent school district.

Described as a mini-Shuster Center, it has a full featured theatre that exceeds the capacity of the Victoria downtown (does this mean the Dayton Ballet and Cityfolk can start scheduling shows outside of "scary" downtown)?

Everyone sees this as a good thing. Even Esrati has kind words.

Since I recently went to a benefit for Stivers, which has a performing arts program, I couldn't but helped be reminded of that situation. Stivers is apparently getting a remodeled and expanded facility (with the the help of state funds), but doesn't have the teachers anymore, due to budget cuts. Budget cuts because the district is too poor to afford the property taxes to pay for extras.

Frankly the situation brings to minde Jonathan Kozols' Savage Inequalities. How things are so radically unequal between urban and suburban schools, between minority and white schools.

I guess where I part company with most of the people in the Dayton region is that the locals see this ienquality of opportunity (not outcome) as good and natural and not to be questioned.

And, sure it's great to go that Stivers benefit as some sort of cool, hipster creative class event, doing good and all that, but do people ask hard questions why that event had to be held, while Centeville can afford a $7.1M arts facility?


Anonymous said...

Jeffrey - this inequality is a perfect example of what is wrong with this region. The very broken school funding system is one of the most significant causes for the perpetual decline of the urban core as well as the growing divide between the burbs and the city. I have lost faith that the state will ever be persuaded to change it. Strickland ran his campaign on school funding reform and has since abandoned it (or seemingly so). Likely because the folks living in the rich school districts like the status quo and would even fight to keep it.

Another inequality that is just as damaging is new "corn field development" vs rehab. I'd love to see an analysis of that (though I'm not sure how it could be done).

Greg Hunter said...

Yes and this inequality has been endemic in the system since the 1960s when white tax payers moved the tax investment into the suburbs to make the corn paving profitable. To make matters more inequitable the suburban populations, especially C'ville have endowments.

The best chance to have made the schools equitable would have been to use the tobacco settlement to even out the system, instead every entity received the infrastructure money.

Donald Phillips said...

You tell 'em Mr. Pout!

I loathe "corn field development" because it takes another source of the rot gut booze I swill out of production!

Jefferey said...

The politics of this will only change if the Republican hold on the state legistlature can be broken.

Strickland can have all the good intentions in the world re school funding, but he will blocked by the GOP (and he probably knows this).