Thursday, July 14, 2016

Latest ECOT Taxpayer Outrage: School Won't Turn Over Public Records.

The nation's largest for-profit charter school won't turn over public records to the state agency charged with holding them accountable. And they're doing it with the blessing of the Ohio General Assembly.

In what can only be called a wickedly brazen flexing of political muscle, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow -- stinging perhaps from its defeat earlier this week in court -- has refused to turn over public records to the Ohio Department of Education.

And it appears that Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and his newest front man, State Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, thinks it's ODE's problem, not ECOT's.

I swear.
"I told them I was disappointed that they wouldn’t delay just one week to allow me to at least see if there was a way to come to some kind of reasonable agreement
The "them" Schuring is referring to is ODE, not ECOT. So Schuring -- with whom I served in the General Assembly and always seemed a pretty reasonable guy -- is disappointed that ODE is trying to determine whether his constituents' tax dollars were improperly spent in a school that received $108 million last year. That's about $10 for every Ohioan.

ODE has decided to give ECOT another two weeks to come up with its record that, again, are public.

As for the ECOT argument that this is unfair or something, I refer you to what ODE's lawyers wrote earlier this week about what ECOT's own truancy policy states:

" is crucial that the student logs in, checks e-mail and participates in coursework regularly (25 hours per week minimum) each week in order to avoid consequences."

ODE has been trying to determine just how often kids actually participated in online coursework since February. Yet ECOT still stalls. Why can they get away with this? Imagine if Columbus City Schools tried this same, 6-month stalling tactic during their scandal.

I think the last few paragraphs of the Dispatch story about ECOT's latest stall explains everything.

"From 2010-2015, ECOT founder William Lager has given more than $1.2 million in disclosed campaign contributions, the vast majority to Republican lawmakers.
Speaker Rosenberger was the keynote speaker at ECOT’s graduation ceremony last month, and he was introduced by Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester. 
Gov. John Kasich spoke at ECOT’s graduation in 2011, while Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell spoke in 2013 and state Auditor Dave Yost spoke in 2015. Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, spoke earlier this year to an online charter school rally at the Statehouse.
ECOT Superintendent Rick Teerters, who earlier this week warned that the state’s attendance auditing efforts could shut down the school, today urged supporters to contact state lawmakers and the state Board of Education to 'let state leaders know what ECOT means to you.'
'In your letter, please express your disappointment that the Ohio Department of Education is taking actions aimed at closing e-schools,' Teeters said. 'With these changes, ODE is trying to take away your voice. That is wrong.'
Teeters reassured parents and students that the school would open this year as planned 'even while we fend off these attacks on school choice.'"
This is what political contributions buy you, apparently. The ability to collect nearly $1 billion since 2000, graduate not even 4 out of 10 students , have more kids fail to graduate than any school in America, and be paid more state money per pupil than 85% of Ohio's traditional school districts, which have to pay for buses, buildings, HVAC, etc. -- expenses you don't have. All while paying teachers 20 percent of all the taxpayer money ECOT receives.

Only in America.


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