Posts by: Greg

It’s not every day that I (Greg) get to recommend a personal and professional friend to such an important position as the Ohio School Board, so I jumped at the chance to talk to Dr. Antoinette Miranda when I found out she had decided to run for the seat being vacated by Mike Collins, who is out as a result of being term-limited.

The seat, representing State School Board District 6, covers much of Franklin County, and all of Delaware and Knox Counties (see map at right).  While School Board candidates run as non-partisan, it’s important to note that Dr. […]

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The central argument in the ECOT lawsuit attempting to block the Ohio Department of Education from auditing the charter school’s attendance is the claim that ECOT is not required to track login information for the students, but is simply required to “offer” students opportunities to log in and learn.

The school claims that an old contract with ODE stipulates this requirement for funding purposes.  The school’s contract with their sponsor, however, contains language that states that ECOT’s attendance policy is that students will be engaged in learning for five hours per day and five days per week, meaning that the […]

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Ohio’s largest for-profit charter school, ECOT, is embroiled in a contentious lawsuit with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the rhetoric has been ramping up all summer long, with ECOT now running regular commercials claiming that ODE is trying to shut down the school.  We recently shared that the media company employed by ECOT (via the school’s management company). Third Wave Communications, is run by Jessica Lager Harris, the daughter of Altair and IQ Innovations owner, and ECOT founder, Bill Lager.

For the past decade plus, Bill Lager has been a major donor to campaigns of […]

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The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), has been running appalling commercials against the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) as part of its public relations campaign to prevent ODE from conducting an audit of the eschool’s attendance.  The school has been running these commercials on television and had them produced after they filed a lawsuit in Franklin County in an attempt to stop ODE.  You can read about and see the ads here and here.

It turns out that ECOT founder Bill Lager hired his own daughter’s company to produce those commercials and other media for the school using […]

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The commercial ends with the “ECOT Senior” reading the final line of the script, “If ODE closes ECOT, where will I go?”

The good news is that it won’t be a problem, since she would not have been enrolled in ECOT next year regardless of what happens to the mega e-school.

As it turns out, Summer was simply playing a role in the commercial and, thanks to her independent efforts, she will be going to college next year.

We reached out to Summer when pictures surfaced of her at this year’s ECOT graduation ceremony in her cap & […]

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In two new commercials, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) lies about the actions that the Ohio Department of Education is trying to take to ensure that the school is properly following operating procedures.  The two commercials claim that “the Ohio Department of Education is trying to close” ECOT.

In reality, the Ohio Department of Education is actually trying to conduct a routine FTE Review to confirm that taxpayer dollars are being accurately delivered to the online giant.

Here is information from ODE’s FTE Review Handbook that describes the task ODE is attempting to complete per state law (referenced at the end):


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In the ongoing lawsuit by ECOT vs. Ohio Department of Education (ODE),  ODE has responded by filing a motion requesting that the court compel ECOT to produce extensive, detailed financial information about the online charter school’s operations.  If ECOT is forced to turn over the documentation detailing how they have been (and continue to) spend the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars they are given annually, the public will finally be given an unprecedented look into how their money is spent and whether the money is actually focused on providing the “high-quality learning opportunities” that ECOT claims exist.

The response […]

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Last week, the state’s largest charter school, ECOT, filed a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) from conducting an (already-delayed-by-request) review of ECOT documents.  The claims by ECOT are unfounded and hold no basis in law, and the ODE response filed today calls the school out.

You can read ECOT’s full request for a temporary restraining order here.

The response filed today (get pdf copy here) by ODE is below:

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After we posted yesterday about the significant enrollment anomalies at ECOT when compared to comparable-sized districts serving economically-disadvantaged students (plus one other large, wealthy district for comparison), one astute reader (see bottom of yesterday’s post) questioned why we were singling out the online charter school and questioned whether or not the use of one single tested grade (10th Grade OGT) was fair.

Good point, ecotPALS, and thank you for prompting us to give it all another look.  To be fair to ECOT, we’ve decided to post the number of tested students for the other state standardized tests […]

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Ohio’s online charter schools have come under scrutiny lately for questions about their attendance.  Multiple smaller online schools have been found to have significantly overstated their enrollment numbers, resulting in a significant amount of state tax dollars being over-billed by the schools’ operators.

State Senator Joe Schiavoni introduced legislation in March of this year that would seek to hold online schools more accountable for accurate attendance records.

“We need to make sure that online schools are accurately reporting attendance and not collecting tax dollars for students who never log in to take classes,” said Senator Schiavoni.  “Online schools must be […]

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In 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich’s first year in office, Bob Sommers (pictured) was appointed as Kasich’s director of 21st Century Education.  Sommers took the lead on crafting education reform policy for the Governor, and dumped many proposed reforms into Kasich’s first budget while the Senate Bill 5 (Issue 2) repeal effort was under way.  One of the more significant proposals that Sommers crafted in the budget was a change in legislation that would have required thousands of Ohio’s public school teachers to retake content-based tests, the same tests that the teachers had already taken and passed to initially […]

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