College Hill Church Social Justice and Peacemaking. Recommendations for the Dayton Public Schools

College Hill Community Church intentionally includes all God’s children as we live in faithful obedience to God’s command to love one another and seek justice. Accordingly the continuous disinvestment in Dayton’s black communities, the failure to educate too many of Dayton’s children to the levels expected in other communities, and the continuing structural barriers to education that bring this about are both harmful and wrong.

 

  1. Structure and adequate funding.
    1. We call on the entire greater Dayton community, including suburbs, suburban churches, area businesses, banks and universities to support the education of all Dayton children with finances and know how.
    2. We call on State Legislators to fund all schools adequately regardless of amount of poverty or the value of properties around them, and without need for property tax levies.
    3. We call on State Legislators to fund all schools adequately to overcome the disadvantages of poverty in cities like Dayton.
    4. We call on State Legislators to ensure that experiments with charter schools do not come at the expense of education of all children.
    5. We call on the Dayton Public Schools to provide willingly and openly all data used in its funding and resource allocation decisions, to consult the public and listen to their opinions before making serious decisions.
  1. Assist the education of Dayton children who come to school with fewer resources.
    1. Do not close more schools. Invest in them and make them better.
    2. If any schools must be closed, use the savings to fund improved instruction.
    3. Be sure every school has teachers’ aides, counselors, nurses, library-media specialists, and health professionals.
    4. Create and fund quality preschools.
    5. Keep class sizes small, even if this means schools’ enrollment is below “capacity”.
    6. Make sure that kids experience teachers of similar racial and economic backgrounds.
    7. Fund educational experiences that get kids outside of their neighborhood.
  2. Make schools part of the community.
    1. To the extent possible encourage parents to keep children in their neighborhood schools.
    2. Keep schools open in afternoons and evenings for community activities, including parenting classes, workforce development programs for parents, adult education.
    3. Encourage and support community groups and churches in providing school children and their parents with programs enhancing literacy, math, and computer skills.
  3. Make teachers, school officials and parents a team furthering the education of children.
    1. Provide professional development for teachers as paid time. Include diversity and cultural competence training.
    2. Encourage collegiality and problem solving by teachers, overcoming isolation.
    3. Preserve teams and building cultures that have been successful, such as Valerie.
    4. Encourage parent teacher relationships. Start these relationships before there are problems. Make schools welcoming and comfortable for parents. Seek out, involve and listen to parents. Learn to mediate difficulties.
  4. Make Dayton Schools a good place to teach
    1. Have administrators, teachers, parents and academic professionals devise ways to evaluate teacher performance that are fair to all concerned. Accompany this with programs to encourage improvement.
    2. Make teacher compensation in Dayton equivalent to that in suburban schools.
    3. Minimize unnecessary bureaucratic demands on teachers.
  5. Improve discipline.
    1. Minimize suspensions and explulsions as counterproductive. Establish alternatives to “school to prison pipeline” discipline. Separate children when needed in learning environments.
    2. Establish discipline based on restorative justice.
    3. Teach resolving conflicts by means other than fighting.
    4. Invest in educating children with learning challenges. Use IEPs appropriately with a goal to return children to the mainstream when possible. Avoid overreliance on medications.
    5. Have security that is trained, culturally sensitive and adept at de-escalating conflicts. Avoid having military or police style security presence in schools.
  6. Community investment
    1. Encourage and organize churches and others to “adopt” schools, and send volunteers (as Omega Scholars of Excellence, Freedom Schools, for Westminster PC tutoring program) to interact with children.
    2. Provide books, tablets and other resources used in affluent districts and needed for learning.
    3. Encourage critical thinking, arts, literature, foreign language, technology, as is expected in affluent suburban schools.