ECOT (The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) has been embroiled in a battle since July as the state attempts to audit attendance data for the online school.
The preliminary review of attendance data by the state in May initially raised questions because student daily log-ins did not indicate complete 5-hour days of attendance. These attendance figures are key in determining the funds allocated to the school, currently about $107 million for 15,000 students.
There are also questions about the amount ECOT has billed the Ohio Department of Education. The funds cannot be substantiated with the attendance data. If ECOT cannot demonstrate that students are, in fact, logging in or doing other related learning work for 5 hours a day, theschool stands to lose its fundingand could ultimately shut down.
Log-in times in the initial audit indicated that the average student is logging in less than one hour each day. ECOT’s lawsuit said that attendance should be based on what opportunities are made available to students, not log-in times.
After losing the lawsuit to block the audit, the school has now been ordered to turn over its records and says they will comply by the end of this week. We will all continue to watch this ongoing story.
In related news, results have been reported from astudy conducted by researchers David Figlio and Krzysztof Karbownik from Northwestern University for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
The study focused on the effects of vouchers on student performance for those eligible for Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship Program. Higher performing students opting to use vouchers to attend private schools performed significantly worse on state exams than lower performing students who, though eligible for vouchers, remained in public school.
The researchers point to the competition engendered by the EdChoice Scholarship voucher program as an incentive for improved instruction in the public schools.
The initial results for participants in the Ed Choice program point to a need for further evaluation and study of this and other such programs.
Would students who used the vouchers to attend private schools have performed higher on the exams if they had remained in public schools?
We are urged touse caution in drawing conclusions from this voucher study
For more information, including a link to the full study and a similar study conducted on Louisiana’s voucher program clickhere.
For more information on Ohio’s 5 Voucher Programs clickhere.