Monday, August 8, 2016

Notorious Online ECOT Airs Melodramatic Ads but Finally Gives Up Data to State of Ohio | janresseger

Notorious Online ECOT Airs Melodramatic Ads but Finally Gives Up Data to State of Ohio | janresseger:

Notorious Online ECOT Airs Melodramatic Ads but Finally Gives Up Data to State of Ohio


The Associated Press reports on developments in the long-running saga of Ohio’s notorious Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT): “Ohio’s largest online charter school has taken a dispute with state education officials over access to attendance records to the courts and the airwaves, raising questions among critics over the use of taxpayer funds to fight state regulators… Before submitting the records, the school aired a pair of ads around the state painting the department in a negative light—the same department that provides 88 percent to the school’s budget… ‘If ODE closes ECOT, where will I go?’  senior Summer Muhaymin asks in one spot.  She describes a transient young life sleeping in bus stations and on park benches in which the Electronic Classroom has been her ‘only constant.’ The ad concludes with the message: ‘Ohio Department of Education: Keep your word. Keep ECOT open.'”
The same article reports that in a lawsuit the online school has filed against the state, ECOT charges that the state changed the rules mid-school year and imposed more stringent attendance reporting without enough notice and before the state was supposed to have begun enforcing a new law.  With an outrageous twist of logic, Neil Clark, Ohio’s most powerful Republican lobbyist, is reported to claim that ECOT filed the lawsuit to “hold the Ohio Department of Education accountable.”
ECOT has been pulling every possible string to avoid reporting student attendance data to the state of Ohio, which pays ECOT over $100 million every year for educating the over 15,000 students reported by ECOT to be attending its online academy full time.  The state of Ohio requires that online schools serve full-time students for 920 hours per year—five hours per day for 180 school days.  ECOT claims it should be paid by the state of Ohio for merely providing 920 hours of curriculum every year instead of being required to prove that its students actually use the curriculum for 920 hours per year. In recent weeks ECOT has sought at least two court orders to prevent the state from requiring the online school to submit attendance data, but the courts have instead insisted that ECOT submit its records to the Ohio Department of Education. Catherine Candisky of the Columbus Dispatch reports that finally, at the end of last week, ECOT capitulated, delivering “more than 25,000 documents, filling nearly 50 ‘bankers boxes,’ to the Ohio Department of Education to comply with a judge’s order.”
Ohio Senate Minority Leader, Joe Schiavoni (D, Youngstown) introduced a bill earlier this year—a bill which the Republican leaders of the Senate have never brought to a vote—to ensure that the state has the capacity to identify and stop paying the online schools for phantom students.  Schiavoni commented this week on ECOT’s continuing maneuvers to delay: “It’s Notorious Online ECOT Airs Melodramatic Ads but Finally Gives Up Data to State of Ohio | janresseger:

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