Monday, February 12, 2018

ECOT argues in Supreme Court tomorrow that it should be paid for educating kids it can't prove it educated. Really.

Tomorrow, ECOT will argue before the Ohio Supreme Court that even though it can't demonstrate that more than 60 percent of the students it charged taxpayers for educating actually engaged in educational activity, it should still receive taxpayer money because they could have been educated by them

The state forcing the school to re-pay taxpayers $80 million for kids it can't prove ever engaged in any learning experiences at ECOT is eventually what led to the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West to drop the mega-virtual school last month, forcing the school to close and leaving hundreds of staff and thousands of families in a lurch -- a lurch caused by ECOT founder Bill Lager's love of money and fancy houses (owned under the name NestEgg Development, LLC. I can't make this up)


And while it appears that finances will be what shuts down the state's first and largest online school (though in a welcome departure from pure finances, apparently the Insight School of Ohio, run by K-12, Inc., which also runs the Ohio Virtual Academy -- currently the state's largest online school -- will be shut down for failing kids rather than accountants), ECOT's academic performance for the kids it actually did educate was not much better than those it didn't.

According to state data from the 2016-2017 school year, every penny sent from a school district to ECOT last year (which was more than $100 million) came from a district that outperformed the online giant by at least 4 of 13 state report card categories. And an astonishing 1 out of every 4 dollars sent to ECOT came from a district that outperformed ECOT on every comparable measure.
This is not to say there weren't success stories at ECOT. There were. But in the vast, overwhelming majority of cases, ECOT simply did not provide a better academic option for students than the districts they left.

And while they did graduate large numbers of students, they failed to graduate about twice as many as they actually graduated. Some of ECOT's paid supporters like posting impressive photos of their Schottenstein Center graduations. They never post a filled Fenway Park, which holds about the number of students ECOT failed to graduate since its opening.

One telling metric of the school's long-term impact on kids is how many ECOT graduates have a college degree within six years of graduation. 

When coupled with the fact that ECOT was charging taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to educate kids that never participated in learning at the school, it's clear that this school was not living up to expectations academically or financially.

As I wrote before, ECOT has generally not performed well on state metrics and have been unable to account for the children's learning experiences, but they have until recently been protected by powerful friends in the Ohio General Assembly and state government who benefited from ECOT founder Bill Lager's political largess.

And now the Supreme Court will decide, essentially, whether the school should be paid for educating kids it can't prove it educated and therefore remain open forever. 

2 comments:

  1. ECOT wants to get paid for children they can't prove were there???????

    This is jaw-dropping greed that is worse than just being insane.

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  2. ECOT had enrolled 15,000 students in 2015-2016. ODE conducted an audit and asked for student log in records, never before required nor available in the format they wanted from any eschool. Then ODE wants the records retroactively. Around $60 millions dollars or roughly 60%. Know take that 60% enrollment down from ECOT's student enrollment of 15,000 - 60% (9,000) according to ODE which aren't there, to 6,000 students logging in 5 hours a day every day that will be funded. I would assume it be safe to say that working Seniors would not log in 5 hours every day 5 days a week. Some would only work on line every other day on days off for 10 to 12 hours, but that didn't satisfy ODE's 5 hours a day every day requirement. Back to the 6,000 enrolled students getting ODE funds (tax dollars). Certainly they are not all seniors, that would give ECOT a 33% graduation rate. WAIT, ODE did claim ECOT had that rate for that year???? Assuming 1/3 of those students are elementary and middle school now takes our numbers down to 4,000 high school students, a 50% graduation rate, but surely you can't imply that all 4,000 high school students are seniors? Assume 40% of the students are seniors, that allows around 1,600 ECOT students as seniors. ECOT's new graduation rate, according to the ODE and this author's logic, then is 125% graduation rate? Graphs can be manipulated but numbers and stats in ODE do not lie. So according to ODE's retroactive requirements on attendance, ODE provided diplomas and graduated students from ECOT that "didn't attend nor were funded for attending" a public eschool? Is this legal? There isn't much sense in debunking rest of the author's "facts" since this one sure doesn't pan out for taxpayers. ODE graduating students that didn't meet their 5 hour a day 5 days a week log in yet ECOT claims they did educate their students but don't deserve the funding. Use that audit technique on Columbus and Cleveland public schools' Chronic Absenteeism students, according to ODE, at being 40% and 30% (along with many other "public school districts" being at 30%) ODE defines Chronic Absenteeism as students that these schools will be unable to read in younger years nor expected to graduate, ever in that school, and you see a waste of $32 million dollars for uneducated students in Columbus and $21 million for Cleveland. That's $53 million for just 2 Ohio Public School districts for JUST ONE YEAR. I don't care where Mr. Lager lives nor how he spends his money. I can read and follow along with ODE's report card and financial report and I can account for every tax dollar ECOT was provided, so it doesn't matter how YOU spin it. Again...$53 million dollars for 1 year for just 2 school districts that ODE claims students will NOT be taught to read in early years nor expected to graduate, yet ODE pays our tax dollars? Somewhere, sometime, common sense must prevail for taxpayers and they can see through this effort to close down eschools and charter schools, and soon private schools, because their teachers are not in the Teacher's Union? ODE did contribut 22.5 million in Ohio elections, compared to Mr. Lager's gasping 2.1 million over 18 years. Wait, someone can donate 2.1 million of his own money and we are surprised he has a vacation home? Really... And we are concerned with an online school that consistently graduates more students than any other public school in Ohio, making them viable working members, and tax payers, in Ohio.


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