Now that we got your attention, ODE is not closing Dublin City Schools. But, stop and think about how this would affect your family if this happened to your school district.  ODE rolls into AnyTown, Ohio and closes your district of more than 12,000 students.  

Elementary Schools closed!  Middle Schools closed!  High Schools closed! 

All schools are CLOSED not just for today, but for the REST of the school year.  

Where will all these students go?  How will you scramble to find a new school for your child?  What will you do if all other schools districts become full before you can enroll your child?  Will you be able to find a new school before your child is too far behind or considered truant? 

It’s old news by now that ODE had ECOT shut down in the middle of the school year (Read ODE And The Deliberate Failing of 12,000 Students) instead of waiting until June to allow the students to continue the education that they chose for themselves. We’ve all seen the heartbreaking stories from individual students on how devastating this move was for their wellbeing.

Yet, there still seems to be a disconnect from certain people on just how big of a disaster this move by the Ohio Department of Education really was. (Read Kasich Seems Dumfounded By Ohio Student Mobility Crisis)

ODE Executed An Attack

At the time of its closing, ECOT had 12,600 students enrolled. Going back to when ODE began its politically motivated attack against ECOT, there were over 15,000 students enrolled. Yes, I can hear the detractors say, “Nonsense! ECOT inflated attendance records!”

Here is a quick fact for the general public: No, ECOT didn’t make up students; ODE simply decided that some of our students didn’t count because they weren’t plopped in front of their computers for five hours EVERY SINGLE DAY.

That includes kids who get their work done in three hours and are national merit scholars. That includes kids who have a doctor’s excuse because they were at their chemotherapy session. Oh, you didn’t know that Ohio doesn’t allow medical excuses for kids attending an online school? It’s true.

And yes, that also includes kids who were failing and not logging on as much as they should have been.

Stacking The Decks

Here’s another fact for you: the dirty little secret shared by districts throughout Ohio is that guidance counselors have applications for ECOT on their desks. It’s a game they play to ship kids they don’t want secretly to ECOT because they hurt their state report card score. By charter, ECOT must accept every kid who applies. And truly, ECOT would accept every child with open arms anyway even if the charter did not require it. So if student A has been truant from Columbus Public, he can simply enroll in ECOT. Now, Columbus doesn’t miss any public funds for that student not showing up every day. Keep in mind, ODE didn’t tell them that they were inflating student numbers. But I digress. (Read ECOT Closed In Ohio: Bullies Celebrate Victory and Money)

When student A is in ECOT, he finds that he has to do work, so he doesn’t log in after a week. ECOT spends time and money getting his records, having teachers contact him repeatedly, and finally, assigning a truancy specialist to visit his home, wherever he lives in the state, in order to get him logged in and participating. Despite these efforts, student A drops out. ODE states that ECOT shouldn’t get any money for this kid because he didn’t log in for five hours a day.

Do you see the problem here?

Put Yourself In Your Neighbor's Shoes

So back to the numbers. ECOT was one of the biggest districts in the state with between 12,000 and 15,000 students. Here are some districts with proportional student populations:

Dublin City School District (15,000)

Westerville School District (14,623)

Dayton City School District (12,222)

Parma City School District (11,041)

Mason City School District (10,603)

Pickerington Local School District (10,199)

Imagine the chaos if ODE told Dublin City Schools on January 19th that they were no longer allowed to educate students.

Can you imagine?

An entire city would be thrown into panic, trying to figure out a solution for their kids. It would affect the daily lives of the entire city, with parents needing to make arrangements with their jobs so their kids wouldn’t be home alone. The issues are almost too many to even list here. Yet, this is exactly what happened to over 12,000 families. And instead of it being concentrated in one city, this disaster has affected every corner of Ohio.

Is this the leadership that John Kasich aspires to?

Is this how the Department of Education feels about our kids? Are they merely dollar figures to them? (Read ODE Feels Strategies Effective)

Every person in Ohio should be outraged by the disgraceful way in which ODE treated thousands of the most at-risk students in our state by locking them out of their school in the middle of the year.

Will your school be the next in their crosshairs?

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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