Posts by: Greg

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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We’ve heard for nearly a year that the Ohio Local Report Card Data would be a mess due to the new (one-time-only) assessments, new cut scores, etc.  Patrick O’Donnell from Cleveland explained some of the problems last week, the day before the majority of the grades were released:

The state will be issuing its grades tomorrow for how well kids met math and English expectations and for how much they learned over the 2014-15 school year – the first year that Ohio tested students on the new multi-state standards.

Just don’t expect any neat and tidy answers – only lower […]

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Ohio Senate Bill 3 was first introduced over a year ago on 2/2/15 and passed out of the Senate on 3/25/15.  The bill then made it’s way to the House Education Committee in April 2015 and had two hearings last Spring.  Many of the items in the bill would have made changes for the 2015-16 school year, so when it did not pass out of the committee, much of it effectively became “out of date”.

In the past month, it resurfaced in the House Education Committee and was recently hastily added to the agenda for the upcoming week, where we’re […]

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After the Ohio Department of Education’s David Hansen was found to have intentionally excluded poor-performing charter schools from the evaluations of authorizers, leading to his resignation, and after Ohio’s $71 million federal grant application was found to be “questionable” in its calculation of high-performing and poor-performing charter schools, specifically excluding online charter schools, new interim state superintendent Lonny Rivera was forced to submit a revised list of schools to try and appease federal grant reviewers and obtain the money.

Rivera’s new letter, with the now-much-longer list of poor-performing charters, once again opted to – for reasons that he […]

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House Bill 420 had not even had a single hearing before sponsor Kristina Roegner (R) entered a substitute that took a good bill and turned it on it’s head.  Roegner’s initial version of HB420 sought only to protect schools from being unfairly penalized by the increasing number of students opting out of Ohio’s standardized assessments.  That version of the bill received wide bi-partisan support.  Before the House Education Committee even got to consider the bill, however, Roegner dropped a bombshell of a substitute bill that seeks to penalize any school employee who dares to […]

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