The closing of the state’s largest and most troubled charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is causing thousands of parents to look for options for their children. Ohio’s local public schools are ready to fill the breach.
For too long, the majority of Ohio’s charter school experiments have failed thousands of public schoolchildren. While this has happened, more and more local school districts have outperformed their counterparts in the charter industry. A recent report about charter-school performance by Dr. Howard Fleeter clearly shows how far charter performance (inclusive of all online schools) lags behind the performance of local public schools: “The 2016-17 4-year graduation rate for all K-12 districts in Ohio is 90 percent; the 4-year 2016-17 graduation rate for the six largest districts in Ohio for all students is 72.8 percent; and the 4-year graduation gate for all charter schools is only 36.4 percent.” ECOT’s graduation numbers are in line with the overall charter graduation rate.
The ECOT experiment has been allowed to continue for almost two decades, despite its continuous dismal results. ECOT’s departure from the Ohio educational scene is necessary and long overdue.
Plans are in place to bring these resident students home, to benefit from the many exciting and relevant opportunities and options found in our public schools.
With ECOT’s closure, thousands of students and their parents are compelled to make a choice. In the middle of a school year, they can choose another charter school or they can turn to their dependable local public schools. We think local public-school districts are the best choice.
Real Choice Ohio, a growing statewide educational organization, is assisting school leaders as they prepare to welcome these families and students back into the fold.
Michael L. Collins
Real Choice Ohio
Note: This appeared in the Columbus Dispatch