In response to a recent fury of misinformation, outright lies and uninformed opinion being spread by those who wish to defund and destroy school choice in Ohio, ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) advocates have had enough and are starting to speak out.
These may be fresh voices in the debate, but this is not a new fight by any stretch of the imagination. For over a decade now, the needs of Ohio's families and students have been evolving much more rapidly than the traditional public school system model has been able to keep up with. As a result, the charter school movement in the state has grown to support annual enrollment numbers of over 120,000 Ohio students and has no signs of slowing down.
This growing movement has established itself on the choices that Ohioans have made and represents a clear demand by citizens towards putting student and family needs before "old school" protectionism and the bureaucracy that plagues Ohio's and many states education departments.
From the New York Times to the local heralds, we've been watching closely as integrity of journalism has completely crumbled. We've also been watching closely as the political party line attacks in the school choice debate have not only increased but also become even more vicious and irresponsible than ever. The divisive us vs. them narrative of the anti-school-choice camp is showing little boundary to how low it will go.
Caught up in all of this noise are the 10's of thousands of progressive school educators, parents and their children who are at best -viewed as collateral damage in these attacks. It's sickening, and it's no wonder they're beginning to stand up for themselves.
The editorial board and some so-called journalists at the Columbus Dispatch are well known for their disdain of ECOT. But they're even better known for their hatchet reporting on the school which regularly includes purposeful misrepresentations of ECOTs performance, the teachers, students and their experience. With the exception of random letters to the editor, the paper regularly and blatantly dismisses the choices and voices of those who choose to teach and be taught at ECOT.
Here's a sampling of parent, student and teacher letters to the editor from July 17th that didn't quite make the headlines at the Dispatch. They were in response to recent threats targeted at the school and buried amidst a pile of other unrelated content in a "web-only" section of the paper. We believe they deserve their own headline and dedicated media exposure.
We believe that these voices matter more than those in the media with zero first hand, current and relevant experience with ECOT. We believe that these voices matter more than those of the State Politicians who are utterly failing at leadership by penning and pushing eSchool legislation in our state while having zero first hand experience in classes with ECOT students and teachers. We believe that these voices matter more than that of the Ohio Department of Education who has clearly shown a complete lack of ability to innovate and propel our public education system into the 21st century. We believe that these voices, the voices of hundreds of thousands of others and their choices put the accountability for public education squarely and rightly where it belongs... on the schools themselves, our educational leaders and their abilities to effectively engage and educate ALL of our state's children.
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