Ohio’s kids will head back to school in about a month.  Stores have already swapped the sunscreen and pool floaties out of their seasonal sections.  Now it’s all backpacks and school supplies.

Families are enjoying their last few weeks at the pool, finishing up summer sports seasons, and not-so-secretly looking forward to using “sorry, it’s a school night” as an excuse to send their kids to bed early.

It’s also time for another back-to-school season tradition.

This week The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), Ohio’s behemoth online charter school, started its yearly push to poach students from traditional public schools through a slick, emotional marketing campaign.

Like previous ads, this latest one features actual ECOT students to make the pitch that kids should ditch their existing public school in favor of ECOT.  Because, you know, regular schools have all those stupid rules and requirements… like showing up for class for more than an hour a day.

ECOT Ad Screenshot

Also… free computer!

The ad kicks off with multiple students reading from a well-crafted script: “We are the rebels, the outsiders… those who dare to be different.”

The new ad then goes into full-on political defense mode: “so we know what it’s like when someone tries to stop you from succeeding.”  A clear reference to ECOT’s latest legal troubles.

Speaking of things that stop people from succeeding: ECOT’s crappy 39 percent graduation rate is “far lower than any of Ohio’s six largest urban school districts.”

Here’s the ad.  Enjoy!