Posts by: William Phillis

The failure of Betsy DeVos to effectively advance her privatization of public education agenda at the federal level is no reason for public education advocates to diminish their efforts. The September 4 Washington Post article “The education of Betsy DeVos: why her school choice agenda has not advanced” might prompt some public school advocates to ease up on their efforts.

The article said: “Her motivation, DeVos says, is to make sure every child can escape failing schools, even if parents can’t afford private school tuition. Critics counter that vouchers and related programs […]

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Zach Space, the Democratic candidate for State Auditor, recently received the endorsement of the Columbus Dispatch. The candidate that was cozy with ECOT did not get the Dispatch endorsement. The point here is not who was endorsed but the fact that ECOT is toxic to those that aided and abetted the fraud-ridden business operation. The Columbus Dispatch states: “(Space’s) plan to increase the number of special audits is a good use of the auditor’s powers, for example to assess the full impact on the public of for-profit charter-school operating companies and the controversial embrace of private […]

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced new legislation Monday that would send any federal money recovered from the now-shuttered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow to Ohio school districts. He said he drafted the bill with ECOT in mind, but it will be worded in a way that would allow school districts in other states to obtain recovered funds if a charter school overbills for student attendance.

Politics aside, federal funds should be recovered from ECOT and sent to school districts. There has been little news coverage about the $130 million Bill Lager has received from the federal government for his ECOT scam.

Charters […]

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Ever wonder what happened to the $71 million federal grant for new, improved, innovative, high performing charters? Steve Dyer probed the matter. The charter school grant, the nation’s largest for the matter, had a rocky start and has deteriorated as attorney Dyer explains in 10th Period on August 17

In 2016 last year, the state gave out a staggeringly low $1 million of that $71 million to just three of Ohio’s about 400 charter schools. Then the state just gave back $22 million of the $71 million, saying it just didn’t have enough good oversight agencies running charter schools. A fine admission.

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It finally seems that ECOT is dead. Today the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-2 against ECOT’s appeal and sided with the state. This upheld lower court rulings and determined the state acted lawfully when it ordered ECOT to repay millions for unverified enrollment. However, the matter of collecting ill-gotten money from the ECOT Man and his two companies is still pending.

The decision came with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Justices Patrick Fischer and Mary DeGenaro and appellate judge W. Scott Gwin, sitting in for recused Justice Judith French, forming the majority.

Fischer explained in the majority opinion that the Ohio […]

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The Ohio Attorney General’s response to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow’s (ECOT) June 27, 2018, Memorandum Regarding Assignment of Claims could open a can of worms for the charter industry.

In his “response“, claims that public money can be recovered from the ECOT scheme in three ways:

William Lager, the operator of ECOT, had a fiduciary duty to ECOT and thus violated that duty by doing business with the two companies he created. Therefore, all the profits realized via those companies’ dealings with ECOT should be recovered. Lager’s status as ECOT’s agent made him a […]

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Stipends were paid to students and parents from ECOT to travel to certain venues, such as testing sites and graduation. Probably no law was broken, so what is the big deal?

The big deal is that the law permits gross misuse of tax dollars in the charter industry. To name a few:

Laundered dollars for campaign contributions Tens of millions of dollars for TV ads and other media buys Carnival-type events to attract students Stipends for students who recruit other students Hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to out-of-state charter management companies The list goes on and on

The article states:

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Using the current law, charter management companies are allowed to select the charter school board of education.How preposterous! House Bill 707 should address this charter industry flaw.

Under Ohio law, a charter management company can set up a charter school, shop for a sponsor and select the board for the charter. Not hard to find a sponsor. Sponsors, like St. Aloysius Orphanage and Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, tap into charter industry revenue streams. This ludicrous policy attracts individuals and groups allured by lucre.

A reader recently wrote about the dangers of charters school, saying, “The most important item that needs […]

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Bob Applebaum, Maple Heights School District Treasurer, spoke about the experience of Maple Heights with ECOT students at a June 6 Statehouse news conference conducted by Innovation Ohio. He is not quoted in a June 7 Columbus Dispatch article that covered the news conference, but his message is critically important.

Applebaum started his statement by saying: “…There is a big difference between a for-profit business and the business of educating students K-12.  Anyone who says “you should run a public school district like a business” is out of touch with reality. And anyone who says a “privately run for-profit […]

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A May 27 Columbus Dispatch Capitol Insider article poses the question, “Who gets credit for reining in ECOT?” It seems the Attorney General wants credit.

The article quoted Joshua Eck, DeWine’s gubernatorial campaign spokesman, who said: “Mike DeWine is the only elected official who has made real progress in this case.” Eck went on to say “Everything that has been done about ECOT has been done through the attorney general’s representation.”

Yeah, right.

Now that disgraced ECOT is politically toxic, various politicians want to the credit for its demise. The State Auditor has filed a motion to intervene in the Lake Erie West lawsuit which […]

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Some policy observers believe DeVos’ school privatization fanaticism is making her irrelevant in American education. Not so. Her bully pulpit and laser focus on the destruction of public education makes her a dangerous threat to traditional school districts. She came to office with a long personal agenda to privatize public education in the wake of nearly two decades of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) attack on public education.

While in New York a few days ago DeVos referenced the Blaine amendments in most state constitutions as “bigoted” and should be “stamped out” and assigned to the “ash heap of history.”

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