Friday’s abrupt closing of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow and the heartache it is causing families across Ohio are the direct result of weak state charter-school laws and a company that collected millions in taxpayer dollars for students it wasn’t educating.
ECOT officials point out, correctly, that until a law change in 2015, Ohio charter schools weren’t required to actually document that students “attended,” i.e. logged in and completed assignments on a regular basis.
Lawmakers and the Ohio Department of Education share some of the blame for that. Ohio’s charter-school laws were, from the start, exceedingly friendly to big campaign donors who would go on to use them to make a buck. Numerous attempts over the years to reform the laws and strengthen oversight have been stymied by the charter-school lobby and legislators friendly to it.
We wish the best for former ECOT families coping with the loss of their school, and we hope that more-ethical online schools will arise to serve them and others who want online education. It can and should be a good option for Ohio families; it shouldn’t be a vehicle to enrich savvy players and friendly politicians.
This editorial was written by the editorial board of the Columbus Dispatch. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.