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.
Read More From ECOT PALS
After a lengthy two-year legal battle, hundreds of hours of testimony, thousands of pages of court documents, and scouring of numerous legal statutes, it all boiled down to the Ohio Department of Education attorney Doug Cole focusing on what he considered to be “absurd. View Post->
Our students, teachers, and staff are the victims of our government and professional groups design to shut ECOT down. OEA, AFT, and ODE relentlessly campaigned against ECOT through lobbying, donations to political campaigns, and manipulation of procedures and policy. View Post->
This is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, in that this member of the state legislature refuses to even hear the grievances brought forth by concerned parents, staff, alumni and current students. 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 students, mobility challenges define their entire public school experience. View Post->
When what is in the best interest of children (allowing them to finish their school year) loses to politics and money, it is a disgrace that needs to be shouted nationwide!. View Post ->
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. View Post->
I’m the face behind the screen. The face to The Ohio Department of Education that seems to not exist. Or maybe I am only a dollar sign. I’m the face that believes in school choice. I’m the face that believes in the right choice. But most importantly, I am one of the many faces of ECOT. View Post->
From that day forward, I knew why I worked at ECOT. I knew I had the heart, patience, and beliefs to help children like Christina and parents like Mrs. White. I knew my work, my school, meant this little girl would be safe and unafraid. That she would never again see the spit of her classmates on her sleeve…or in her face. View Post->
Pushing legislation, rules and actions that may effectively displace 10's of thousands of our state's children, teachers and education administrators should not be handled so carelessly. These efforts are such a large threat to our families, our state economy, our right to choose and all of Ohio's future. We're fired up too and rightfully so.View Post->
What the Senator has shown in his words and actions is that he is playing politics with public education. He seems squarely focused on intentional and blind protectionism of the traditional institutional system at any cost or consequence to opportunity for Ohio's students. View Post ->
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 ->
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 ->
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 -->
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 -->
Constantly chasing new standards and screwing around with questionable measures while repeatedly attempting to march our diverse and fragile system towards different finish line grades is getting us nowhere. View Post ->
Looking at the crushing human and taxpayer consequences of bullying, those serious about public school innovation and the future of public education need to reconsider their anti-school-choice actions and start to measure what matters. 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 ->
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 ->
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. View Post->
With new capabilities in technology, new socioeconomic challenges and new science behind how people learn and grow... major changes to a K-12 format that is so long in the tooth should be expected and embraced. View Post ->