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.
Read More ECOT PALS Stories
Abigail had to look beyond the traditional public school system to find a way to stay close to her newborn, but had no idea how her experience at ECOT would change her perspective and impact her and her new baby's life - View Post ->
When her mother became very ill, everything seemed to change for high school freshman, Sara. Up against odds that many couldn’t possibly imagine, she found acceptance, support and a new hope for her future at ECOT. View Post -->
The biggest challenge of mobility is that each student's scenario is entirely unique. For some, they need a right place right time solution to finish out their K-12 journey. For other student's, mobility challenges define their entire public school experience. View Post->
From isolation to recommended medication, the system was failing an energetic 2nd grader named Dax. Jane turned to ECOT to find a schooling solution that works for him. View Post -->
When the traditional public school system pushed her bullied daughter through the cracks, Amanda Lewis turned to ECOT to get her daughter the educational support she needs to succeed. View Post ->
"Over the past 16 years, ECOT has fulfilled its responsibilities to my family by providing my children with a high-quality curriculum, exceedingly dedicated teachers and a well rounded, solid education. Please respect my decision to choose the education I deem best suited for my family" View Post ->
During her transition from traditional brick-and-mortar school to online school, Sydney left behind the constant bullying, name-calling, fighting and harassment and transformed from “the quiet kid who kept to herself” into a “social butterfly.” View Post ->
Desperate to find a public education option that worked for them, the Aquino family discovered school and family life balance with ECOT - View Post ->
From the diversity to the school life balance to the learning engagement, ECOT K-12 online school has been amazing for my daughter and helps me be more involved in her education as well as her life. View Post -->
ODE's 5-hour attendance rule is reckless and works to undermine over a decade of progress in K-12 online education for Ohio. It's been months and the department still has yet to justify this measure with any logical reasoning. View Post ->
There is little doubt that ECOT is changing the paradigm of public education... and it's not by blindly giving students iPads or a way for students to simply click their way to a diploma. ECOT teachers are harnessing the efficiency that technology provides while leveraging the power of teamwork to meet the unique learning needs of their students. View Post ->
After teaching English at a brick-and-mortar high school for 18 years, Maryalice Leister has been fearlessly pursuing educational technology to create more meaningful connections with her students. View Post ->
As a current ECOT Special Needs teacher, I have seen firsthand the positive effect that online school can have on a student. It is true that online learning is not for every student, but it absolutely is the right choice for many students. Not only is it the right choice, but it is oftentimes the last and only choice for students. View Post ->
Transitioning from 11 years teaching at traditional schools to ECOT K-12 Online School, 3rd Grade Teacher, Lindsey Lindsay compares the student learning experience in physical and virtual classrooms. View Post ->
Art Teacher, Hannah Brown shares her experience as an online educator and how this breakthrough format is saving and shaping K-12 art classes of the future. View Post -->