Ohio Auditor Dave Yost's call for Ohio lawmakers to pay electronic schools based on their educational results is a step in the right direction. It may correct a scandalous and fraudulent use of taxpayers' dollars earmarked for education.
The auditor made his remarks earlier this month at a first ever statewide charter school summit, asserting that education is more than a student logging on with a computer and that true accountability would dole out hard-earned taxpayer dollars based on results, not merely time logged on.
His observations were made in the wake of the Ohio Department of Education having to go to court to gain access to the attendance records of Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), an online school that last year took $106 million out of the money the state provides for the education of Ohio's young people. No wonder ECOT held the Ohio Department of Education at bay. Its academic record consisted of state report cards filled with failing marks and a four-year graduation rate of less than 39 percent per year. The online school claims an enrollment in excess of 15,000 students, most of whom evidently are not getting the education they deserve having paid for it.
Other states that provide for online secondary education pay for results, not attendance, and there is no reason why Ohio should not move in that direction. Because its oversight is so loose, conclusions are difficult, but some believe ECOT during the 2014-15 academic year may have over charged Ohio's taxpayers more than $35 million. And to think the department of education had to go to court to gain a release of its attendance figures!
How we educate Ohio's young people may say what kind of future awaits us. If the Ohio legislature is not serious about how money is spent in that endeavor, we need to replace the legislature. Results need to be tallied. Regular public schools are held accountable for their results. Why flimflam artists are able to con our legislators into letting millions slip away is beyond us. Poor oversight and fraud are often the stuff of criminal investigations.