My experience at ECOT has truly transformed my outlook on academics and life. The flexibility of Ecot combined with the friendly atmosphere in the live sessions and classroom helped me to grow and become a better person. I have always been challenged to do better, and through that have learned more than what was required at times.

I, being a member of the Career Technical Education (CTE) program for the Programming and Software Development Pathway, was allowed to further challenge myself; on top of my normal classes, I would participate in career readiness classes for a career in the IT workplace. This came at the condition that I maintained and withheld reputable grades in both my normal and CTE classes, and attended all mandatory CTE live sessions.

When ECOT closed, a fog of uncertainty populated a surreal landscape conjured by the event. Me and my family did not have a plan nor thought we'd need one for switching schools midway through the school year. We were sent scrambling for a new school for me and my three other siblings.

Anthony McAllister

Anthony McAllister

Most of all, it is confusing and disturbing. ECOT is a pioneer in the digital platform of education. It doesn't sprout from the orthodox roots of traditional schooling. I have heard many comment on ECOT’s shortcomings when compared to a traditional school, as should be expected in any foreign field, but this isn't a defense against any criticism, as it is fundamental in development.

However, I find few inquiry as to why so many families have invested in ECOT as their school. As a natural function of society, there comes an inevitable conformity that bounds students and even at times parents in traditional schooling. Credit must be given for the accommodation of most families, but most doesn't mean all, especially in the modern age.

I find that the opinion of many that oppose ECOT and/or online schooling in a more derogatory fashion is that such schools are for mentally handicapped or failing students, or for students that can't function in a normal school. May I say undoubtedly that this is completely incorrect; myself and many of my friends and classmates are not destitute the capacity for traditional schooling, but rather find the stiff and superficial method of traditional schooling to be too unspecific and restraining than an online school.

I have met personally many great people with their own stories to tell. I have met people who, despite their personal conflictions, pursue an education. I have met mothers pursuing their academic dreams while taking care of their responsibilities. I have even met fantastic individuals with dreams and goals that cannot be bound by a physical classroom. In fact, I have never affiliated with or noticed a classmate lacking the capability for traditional schooling, even if they had disabilities of any sort.

In light of this, the fact that anyone can go online and reduce this triumph of academics and dreams to a statistical rating is atrocious. Boiling down the very choice of families, the dreams of many, and the aspirations of the few who wish to achieve more in life despite their circumstances to a number one can judge and generalize is a great crime that breeds continued ignorance of the fact that one size does not fit all; that families are not built equal, that schools are not built equal; that life happens and to grapple with this flexibility is the only answer that doesn't compromise.

It is a delusion to believe that any school can accomplish this feat without having to compromise on anything. Therefore, it is most certainly the job of regulators to make allowances and/or exceptions whenever needed. Not as to be an ever present excuse, but rather an aid in the efforts of upholding an education system that supports all. Although online schooling is not as new as most believe, it is assuredly a methodology that needs refinement, and that said, cannot be put in a box.

Aside from this, I still am out of school due to the unfortunate timing of Ecot's closing. I hopefully shall begin again on February 5th. I do have hope that many will see and hear the stories of those that were at Ecot. May understanding, the guiding principle of education, illuminate the importance of Ecot to every opposition of its continuance.

Anthony McAllister

ECOT is currently involved in a legal action with the Ohio Department of Education. The department is moving to limit school choice by ripping funding away from ECOT and other eSchools based on selective and retroactive enforcement of absurd attendance rules. ECOT is challenging the ODE in the Ohio Supreme Court.

We need your help. Please Take Action Now to support school choice and ECOT in Ohio.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by authors and interviewees on ECOT PALS blogs are the author's and interviewees alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) or any other individual or group. Would you like your opinion or story to be published on the ECOT PALS blog? Please contact us to inquire.

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