Friday, September 16, 2016

Ohio’s Notorious ECOT Tries to Make Its Case In Court | janresseger

Ohio’s Notorious ECOT Tries to Make Its Case In Court | janresseger:

Ohio’s Notorious ECOT Tries to Make Its Case In Court

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Attorneys for the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio’s largest and most notorious online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, have been in court all this week tussling, as the Columbus Dispatch‘s Jim Siegel explains, “over ECOT’s lawsuit to block the state from using new attendance standards to impact funding….”  “As the state’s biggest online school, ECOT has taken the lead in fighting efforts by the Ohio Department of Education and Gov. John Kasich to use log-in durations to determine whether students are getting state-minimum ‘learning opportunities.’  ECOT, which has claimed the state requires it to provide 920 hours of (annual) curriculum but not prove that students are actually participating in ECOT’s education program, could lose $80 million or more based on an initial attendance audit in March, which found students were logging in for only about an hour per day.”
The problem across Ohio’s very large on-line sector is that the schools—and there are several operated by specific school districts as well as the huge ECOT and the Ohio Virtual Academy, an affiliate of K12, Inc.—have not been keeping careful records to confirm full-time participation. Ohio, which says students at e-schools ought to be online for five hours per day, pays the schools over $6,000 every year for each full-time student. In the past, the state has not pressed this matter, but last fall the legislature enacted House Bill 2, a very basic law to begin to regulate charter schools. ECOT’s lawsuit claims that the state is applying the new HB2 retroactively and without sufficient warning.
Widespread press coverage of the scandal at ECOT has put pressure on the all Republican legislature that has, in the past, been more lenient. Siegel quotes the chair of the Ohio Senate’s Education Committee, Peggy Lehner commenting on this week’s trial: “This is obviously a significant problem with online schools that we’re going to have to resolve. Clearly we have an obligation both to the students and the taxpayers that they are taking advantage of the learning opportunities for which we are paying.””
The Associated Press quotes the common sense of the attorney for the state, Douglas Cole: “Students deserve to actually receive an education, not merely be offered the possibility of one. ECOT is claiming it is entitled to a money tree that never stops growing and never stops bearing fruit.”
Plain Dealer reporter, Patrick O’Donnell describes how ECOT’s attorney, Marion Little, framed ECOT’s case to avoid oversight: “In opening arguments… lawyer Marion Little said the state rules and a 2003 contract with ODE only require the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow to Ohio’s Notorious ECOT Tries to Make Its Case In Court | janresseger:
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