A little shock & awe can really help to expose the truth.
ECOT made a bold and brave move last night. Facing a mid-year school shutdown and with the futures of over 12,000 students hanging in the balance, the nearly strangled to death school presented a final deal to pause a now 2 year long stalemate legal battle with the state. ECOT put their best effort forward on behalf of their students, families and staff. And the media.... as usual showed us what they're made of.
From 3rd Rail Politics - In a letter to The Ohio Department of Education's Chief Legal Counsel, Diane Lease, ECOT Superintendent Brittny Pierson, proposed an approach that would allow ECOT to be able to operate through the end of the school year and included, among other things, ECOT’s management company, Altair Learning Management, foregoing its management fees as well as its owner, Bill Lager, resigning operational control over Altair.
ECOT and ODE have been in negotiations since the Department implemented a new handbook during the middle of the 2016-17 School Year. The handbook created a new funding standard based on attendance and participation. The Ohio Revised Code sets a different funding standard for schools based on student enrollment.
“In negotiations with the Department, it became clear that they wanted concessions from Bill Lager personally. It wasn’t about the students,” explained ECOT spokesperson Neil Clark. “So we gave them what they wanted in order to stay open a few more months and not close our doors on our students suddenly."
“By accepting this plan, ODE can prevent over 12,000 students from finding themselves without a school mid-year and keep collecting funds from ECOT,” continued Clark. “If it is about what is in the best interest for students and taxpayers, the decision should be easy.”
The decision should be easy….. right?
Everybody wins…. right? ODE should take the deal. 12,000 students avoid mid-year displacement from their school… the state gets paid and the Ohio special interest who’s been targeting ECOT’s founder for years get their trophy. Sounds like a win-win for everyone… well with the exception of ECOT’s founder.
I don’t think many in the media saw this move coming from ECOT. They have spent years character-assassinating ECOT’s founder, Bill Lager, labeling him as some evil man behind the curtain that’s making himself personally wealthy by screwing over kids and fleecing the taxpayers. The only problems with the media’s assertions about Bill Lager are the parts about “screwing over the kids” and “fleecing the taxpayers” which I learned first hand by enrolling my own daughter in ECOT 6 years ago. Even though my daughter is only funded at 1/2 to 1/4 the tax payer cost of her own siblings and peers in traditional public schools, she has been the benefactor of exceptional teaching, unwavering support, professional guidance and amazing extra-curricular programs. In other words, as her parents and as taxpayers we’ve never felt “screwed over” or “fleeced. With ECOT’s help, she is on pace to graduate a full year early and off the State’s taxpayer-funding. You can thank me and ECOT later… fleeced taxpayers.
So this is the media’s conundrum. What do you do when you’ve worked so unbelievably hard to craft and peddle the evil man behind the curtain narrative and then your evil man is the first to stand up and actually do something to defend Ohio children? Make no mistake. Our Governor, our ODE, our teacher’s unions and school boards and spineless politicians both at the Statehouse and on the campaign trail were not only ready but some were actually excited about the proposition of displacing 12,000 students and their teachers in January. I'm not kidding. Go look at the twitter feeds of virtually every campaigning Democrat and even some Republicans. There is no care for these kids or their teachers... no effort to find a resolution... all political posturing. And the media has only cared to even interview ECOT families now that we're on the ropes after dismissing and censoring us for 2 years. The way this case has been handled is absolutely sickening when you come to meet ECOT students and work with the amazing teachers as my family has. It’s even more sickening when you consider all of the students incredible health and socioeconomic circumstances. But I digress… Let’s get back to the question. What’s an agenda-driven special interest sponsored media garbage heap to do now that their narrative is crumbling all around them?
In the case of the Columbus Dispatch, their response was cute and expected. Twist the headline to paint ECOT in a bad light… avoid the actual subject matter and provide as little substance about the actual story as possible.
But the most fascinating display came from Cleveland.com’s Patrick O’Donnell.
Patrick and I have a little bit of history. Here’s a tweet chat from last year where I notified him about a factually incorrect headline he published and peddled to his legions of personal followers and unsuspecting readers. I didn’t even have time to go into the article that day and fact check any further but I'm sure it was as full-o-farce as his headline. By the way, even after admitting his headline was a lie, he never retracted or corrected.
Fast forward to today. What's an O'Donnell to do when his own manufactured villain of Ohio education saves the kids? Well.... put up the bat signal I guess.... sound the trumpet.... I don't know. But let's see who is on this fair and balanced reporter's instant tweet notification list ?
Ahhhhh - now I get it. He doesn't actually work for the newspaper. He works for the special interest that stands to gain the most financially when schools like ECOT are crushed out of existence. Some of you may not recognize the twitter identities above but I can assure you, these are not friends of ECOT and these are not neutral parties. In fact, most of these folks all hang out at the same taxpayer-funded private parties.
With a media like this, it's no wonder why nobody except Bill Lager and ECOT stood up in the 11th hour, put their legal fight (coming to a Supreme Court near you on 2/13/18) on the side, and stood up for our children.
Thank You ECOT and Thank You Bill Lager for pursuing compromise with the State of Ohio on behalf of our kids. Now, let's see how ODE responds and if we can move forward with this school year and our children's education.
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.
We need your help. Please Take Action Now to support school choice and ECOT in Ohio.
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