Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dayton Public Schools: Dead Last

The lowest scoring public school district in the state.

From Lake Erie to the Ohio River, from rural cornfields and Appalachian hollows to city streets and suburban cul-de-sacs, no community in the Buckeye State has worse public schools. So says the state test scores, according to the DDN education blog.

Not really my issue as I don’t have kids or live in Dayton. Yet it is my issue as I’m concerned about the physical survival of the city.

Such abysmal performance means the City of Dayton is out of consideration as a pace to live for families with school age children who care about their kid’s education, unless they want to incur the additional cost of private schools (or opt for home-schooling).

So you can imagine what this means for the housing market in the city. Bad schools probably contribute as much to vacancy and abandonment as the foreclosure crisis and generalized economic decline, because families avoid either buying or renting in the city. The end result is more demolitions and an increasingly empty Dayton.

One can point to Fort Recovery and Saint Henry up in Mercer County as examples of school districts with limited resources scoring high, as these are both in remote rural areas with little industry. I recall Fort Recovery has repeatedly scored high in the state ratings.

Then the argument is that these rural districts are not really comparable to Dayton due to size and cultural homogeneity. So I offer Cincinnati Public Schools as a counter-example, as an urban district that is improving, scoring the best of all urban districts in Ohio. There is a good thread on CPS at Urban Ohio, as well as a Cincy Enquirer article pointing out the success of the city high schools driving the rating. Follow the links to read about an academic success story.

Now yer humble host doesn’t know much about education, being a C student himself. But something has got to give with DPS if the city is to have an even chance.

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