WOW! This commentary by Toledo Blade Colomnist Marilou Johanek covers just about everything that’s wrong with ECOT and their “political powerhouse” owner, William Lager. The political payoffs, the David Hansen grade card scandal, the watered-down accountability, the students getting left behind; it’s all here…
It doesn’t matter how egregiously ECOT has been failing K-12 students who take classes from home on a computer. It doesn’t matter if ECOT students are even logged in let alone learning. It doesn’t matter if the online charter giant gets F grades in most state assessment categories.
The political will to right what’s wrong with electronic schools is nonexistent. When Ohio Republicans boarded Mr. Lager’s gravy train they left the educational welfare of thousands of students behind.
The plan to enrich for-profit businesses — if not students — can be summed up in two words: dilute and delay. Mr. Lager and friends got a legislative delay until after the November election to twist arms and derail charter school quality efforts — again.
Elizabeth Stillgess, the parent of a former ECOT student, testified before the Ohio Senate Finance Committee on May 2, 2016. She knows firsthand why so many students leave ECOT.
AN UNBELIEVABLE STATISTIC! ECOT, which likes to brag about how many students they enroll, don’t like to talk about quality. In this post, blogger Stephen Dyer, points out that ECOT failed more students than all other Ohio school districts COMBINED.
No wonder ECOT (and Ohio) is the laughing stock of the charter school movement.
From Mr. Dyer’s 10th Period post:
While ECOT may account for 5% of Ohio’s high school graduates, it accounts for more students who don’t graduate than (drumroll please) all Ohio school districts combined! If ECOT were the 610th Ohio school district (under Ohio law, charters are treated as districts), it would account for more than 1/2 of all non-graduating seniors in this state.
This is just more evidence that ECOT is, in fact, America’s Dropout Factory.
The following is a excerpt from the New York Times article published 5/18/2016 and tells the story of one ECOT student who had problems beginning her classes and then when she could finally begin felt like the classes were way too simple.
Alliyah Graham, 19, said she had sought out the Electronic Classroom during her junior year because she felt isolated as one of a few African-American girls at a mostly white public school in a Cincinnati suburb.
It took three weeks for the Electronic Classroom to enter her in its system, she said. Then it assigned her to classes she had already passed at her previous school. When she ran into technical problems, she said, “I really just had to wing it.”
Ms. Graham, who hopes to pursue a career in medicine, has also been disappointed by the quality of assignments. She showed a reporter a digital work sheet for a senior English class, in which students were asked to read a passage and then fill in boxes, circles and trapezoids, noting the “main idea,” a “picture/drawing,” or “questions you have.”
“I feel like I did this kind of work in middle school,” Ms. Graham said.
When she turns in assignments, she said, feedback from teachers is minimal. “Good job!” they write. “Keep going!”
The following is a excerpt from the New York Times article published 5/18/2016 and points out William Lager’s words don’t match his actions.
In a self-published book in 2002, “The Kids That ECOT Taught,” Mr. Lager wrote that “the dropout rate is the most critical issue facing our public education system but it is only the first of many problems that can be solved by e-learning.”
Through the Electronic Classroom, he wrote, he planned to make public education more efficient and effective.
He added, “No business could suffer results that any school in Columbus Public delivers and not be driven out of business.”
Peggy Lehner, a Republican state senator who sponsored a charter school reform bill that passed the legislature last fall, said the problem was the school, not the students.
“When you take on a difficult student, you’re basically saying, ‘We feel that our model can help this child be successful,’ ” she said. “And if you can’t help them be successful, at some point you have to say your model isn’t working, and if your model is not working, perhaps public dollars shouldn’t be going to pay for it.”