AIR, Data, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, reading, Schools, Testing, third grade


Jackie blog cover

I teach third grade. Every one of my kids, age 8 or 9, has talents and dreams. This past Wednesday, we had a circle of friendship. That’s when we sit on the carpet in a circle and take turns saying something nice about each other.

The desks were all spread far apart, since we have been MAP testing in Reading, Math, and Science this week on computers. So we had plenty of space.

The first time I did a circle of friendship, it was hot, early in the year. We kept having to unclasp our hands because they were sweating. The kids were uncomfortable.

This time, right after lunch, I told them we were doing a circle, and they cheered. See, they look forward to the affirmations. From peers and from me.

I ended up talking the most, because when they were done, I did the whole circle.

I told them that I know them really well now. And I named the things I saw in them, each one. Their abilities, their struggles, how they had grown over the year, and I ended up telling them that I believed in each and every one of them.

Later, I asked them to trace their hand on the blue paper and write about what they thought I would say about them at conferences.

One student, who has struggled, wrote that I would say he has gotten his anger under control, that he was smart, that he was good in math, and that he liked to dance.

These are PEOPLE.

I put their essays in their conference folders.

We took our MAP Reading test the next day. The test is on a computer. Everyone gets different questions, depending on how they are doing, they get harder or easier questions. They worked really hard, since a score of 196 during one of the tests can equal promotion under the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee.

Less than half of my class has met a promotion score so far. Only a few more surpassed the 196 that day. And that is to be expected, since the nationwide mean is 198.6 at the END of the year. But this is technically the END OF THE YEAR. April. Because in order for the State of Ohio to decide what sort of a job I have done for my evaluation, we need scores by early May.

I have some kids that need to score a 672 or higher on the AIR/TIDE test, which we are taking next week. If they don’t, they will have to attend summer school attended then take MORE tests.

Like the MAP, the AIR test has passages we have never seen, questions we have never seen, it is taken on a computer, and the kids have to read 2 passages and then write an essay which includes evidence cited from both passages.

It is going to be scored by a computer.

The computer cannot read.

The computer is looking for conventions like capitalization, end punctuation, an introduction, use of transitional words, and a conclusion.

The prompt asks them to write a “multiparagraph essay”. The same rubric is used for grades 3-5. The “exemplars”, which are essays written by I-don’t-know-whom, but are available on the ODE website, are mostly beyond what my kids can do.

Children who are 8 or 9 are not developmentally ready for keyboarding, based on their fine motor skills. Nor have they entered the cognitive level of formal operations. But let’s ask them to do this, because we can defeat them easily at this age.

And so, today, in the Plain Dealer, appears this article:

Computers mis-grade 5,300 state tests after programming error by American Institutes for Research

There are days I can’t wait to get to school. There are days I would prefer not to go. But I do, anyway.

I love my kids. I raise butterflies in the summer, and teaching is better than butterflies, but in some ways, the same. It’s seeing the potential. The egg hatches into a caterpillar, and if you provide what it needs, you end up with a butterfly.

Teaching can be like that.

Honestly, though, I am feeling defeated tonight.

I know that computers can’t read. I don’t buy into the snake oil…I don’t want to live in a world with self-driving cars. I don’t see technology as the answer to everything. I look at my kids and no matter how hard I try, I don’t see data points.

I see organic people. They have strengths. They have weaknesses. We have a culture in the classroom that allows us to say that out loud. As a teacher, I too have strengths and weaknesses. So does EVERYBODY.

And I feel very WEAK. Right now.

Because what I know about those people in my class doesn’t mean jack squat. What the computer “knows” means EVERYTHING. Except WHEN IT SCREWS UP.

Elections, Gun Violence, Public Schools, Schools, seniors, Uncategorized

But, What Have They Really Done?


As an education activist, I have teacher friends and connections from all states across our country. As I was home today shooing the flu away, I had a chance to really soak in an entire day’s worth of seeing student activists growing or most noticeably, newly being formed. The National swirl of Walkout activities which dually recognized the one-month mark of the Parkland shooting and served as an expression of solidarity with the student-led demands for gun law reform, were powerful, to put it mildly. I would love to elaborate on my emotions related to the students encircled around the 14 empty desks and 3 podiums with the 17 doves released, or the gong which sounded 17 soul-echoing times as students did a die-in across all 100 yards of a football field while their bodies spelled out a giant #Enough. I am so grateful for the young woman, and the young man, along with the second grader (and his mom) who walked out of each of their schools as lone voices and I am so glad that their stories are already going viral. What bold bravery.

But instead, I feel compelled to answer the 3 or 4 audacious folks I saw in a variety of media spaces asininely asking “But, what have they really done or accomplished? What have they changed?” I hardly know where to start, but I will just dive in, in no particular order, and assuredly in a raw and incomplete manner. I will say, the fact that they influenced you towards even asking such a question in the first place, lets me and others know, that they have done well to send out ripples of resistance even to the most resistant, critical, or apathetic of viewers. Sometimes the questions tell us more than the answers ever will.

As an activist, I have written ahead to a slew of news sources, made posters, and then stood or marched with hundreds of others regarding a huge crucial issue related to legislation that would affect hundreds of thousands; all done in vain to only MAYBE have one or two newspapers write up a little blurb which they sunk somewhere in the middle of the paper. These kids today, set helicopters in every major city into motion. I have yet to find a news outlet NOT COVERING IT. They are on every channel local to national and back again. Reporters and journalists are scrambling to get THE INTERVIEW or COVERAGE that they might claim an exclusive.  More and more detailed stories are surfacing as the evening dawns.

These youth have AT LEAST five or six hashtags simultaneously trending on Twitter (and have been retaining top trending topics for a solid month now). We, my adult activist friends and I, have in deliberate action, held coordinated, planned tweet campaigns, and let me tell you it is harder than the old Asteroids game to keep a hashtag trending for any certain length of time. Prominent folks, with 100s of 1000s followers are commenting to the student activists by name and by their hashtags. They are seeking these youth leaders out. It is nothing for them to see 1000s of retweets on any given message in a matter of hours truly. All day today, and I am sure well into this evening as folks are arriving home, pictures of the Walkouts are dominating Twitter (and I am sure Snapchat and Instagram also). To amplify their cause in this way almost seems effortless for them. They are highly effective at drowning out so much status quo static that is out on Twitter. Their truths are evident, loud and clear.

They directly attracted and engaged local, state, and national politicians to a level that I do not think any recent movement has been able to do at such elevated numbers, in such a vast amount of places, in the same given hour or day. Senators and Representatives came out to them in DC. I have marched or protested in DC numerous times. I have lobbied on ‘the hill’. And the most we gleaned attention from were some of the legislative aides or a very few curious staff members on their lunch breaks. Can you imagine the honorable Congressman John Lewis speaking at your event??? Well, he did so at their event!!! That fact alone should be humbling to those who question what they have accomplished.

I typed “Walkouts” in Google searchbar just now and came up with 6,490,000 results in .66 seconds. CNN, NYTimes, LATimes, MSNBC and many more are right on top with articles that are an hour or even 14 minutes old. 1000s upon 1000s upon 1000s of passionate kids’ faces are plastered all over the internet. And right along with them are scores of headlining quotes of THEIR POSTERS, THEIR WORDS, THEIR CHANTS, THEIR THOUGHTS, THEIR IDEAS, THEIR UNIQUENESS, and THEIR UNITY!

It seems districts and schools all over each had their own reactions to the appeals of the students to be able to participate. Students had to choose if they were going to comply or seat the consequences that came with some of the schools’ warnings against the students walking out. I read one post that said 100 students will have detention for their participation. Others mentioned suspensions of more than a week. One school (probably more) went on lockdown so the students could not walkout BUT those students peacefully ‘took a knee’ in the hallways. Students everywhere had to weigh out their individual stances on the matter and prioritize it despite penalties that were handed down. By the way, the ACLU is seriously examining situations in which students were severely silenced.

I am sure that many, many, many a student found themselves at odds with members in their own classrooms, schools, communities or even their own families. Those ones would have had to mentally practice their wording of why they were walking out and what it meant to them. I am an extroverted, outspoken adult and I still at times have found it difficult, dare I say downright fearful, to explain my stances on certain issues with a room full of people I absolutely love who do not agree with my point of view. It is an acquired art to be able to put controversial beliefs into words strong enough and accurately enough, without being defensive or offensive in any antagonistic crowd, but when you eat, and live with those who may not see eye to eye or flat-out oppose your views, it is extremely difficult. I can almost hear the back and forth dialog of some parents and some children as they hash out their personal differences about guns, school shootings, and now a rash of protests. Those students will not likely make the headlines, and yet they have initiated necessary conversations. They have planted seeds of thought. They are the ones I see as the overcomers. The tradition breakers. The peace takers.

Speaking of peace, these students had to seriously rein in a ton of emotions. They were tapping into huge, long-building, collective anger, fear, sadness, and now determination, and had to do it all with tremendous self-control. The media would have had a hey-day if violence broke out. It would have been a major mar in the overall message. Thus far, I have only heard of successful PEACEFUL protests the whole day long. This is a great testament to the teens and others who let them lead. The students, in this manner, garnered trust. As a mom of five (grown children), I put a high value on being able to trust my children, especially in particularly trying situations. This is where the roots and wings balance comes to fruition in parenting and yes, in teaching. These kids that walked out today, in my eyes, all passed a tremendous test. They are to be trusted with future public outcries against social ills.

To pull such events together in such a short time frame was an amazing feat. Some student protests scheduled speakers. Many did the math, prep work, and coordination to make birdseye images of enormous numbers, words, or images, and set into motion the plans for those to be photographed from the air via drone cameras, high vantage points, or hopes that helicopters would see. The students took it upon themselves to plan and relay the plans to stand in silence, to sit-in a field or bleachers, to march to a destination, to chalk around the outlines of their bodies, to wear armbands, to wear certain colors, to sing specific meaningful songs, to paint murals, to tape their mouths, or create banners, and on the lists go. Tons of students wrote to legislators, and actually made literal plans to meet today in state houses all across the United States, and managed to get to those numerous meetings in huge numbers. Again, as outgoing as I am, I still experience intimidation and nervousness in the “formal” settings of meeting with members of congress at any level, and I abhor the back and forth phone tag or emails that it takes to be able to try and schedule appointments. Some students, had to put a plan B quickly in place, as a snow day closed their school. Still they had a tremendous showing which I imagined involved quite the amount of text messages and carpooling plans. These mature youth rose above and beyond the challenges and complications that can arise when trying to pull-off something this connected on a calendar or clock, or which have such underlying serious and somber origins. It is not fun and games. It requires intelligent energy.

They will always remember March 14th, 2018. Even if they never do anything similar to this type of activism again, they will remember this day for all of their lives. It will stand out in a very impressionable corner of their minds. They now own a story to tell their children and grandchildren.

In addition to the Walkouts, and the memorial ceremonies, many took today as an opportunity to register new voters. I daresay, these participants when they realize how many more did what they did on this momentous day, are going to be empowered by numbers. My children and their peers (all 20 somethings) are horrid at making it to the polls. They insist that money buys the elections and their votes won’t change anything. I bet the graduating class of 2018 does NOT believe that after seeing how many other like-minded groups exist. They are now extremely motivated voters. There will be a historical swell of 18-year old voters this year. Those in the pockets of NRA, don’t stand a chance with them. I believe it.

We out here… especially those who dared to question what was accomplished … we all just watched history in the making. The ones who walked out … please walk on further, get even more involved; be the change that you already are.

by: Kelly Ann Braun
in leadership in the Badass Teachers Association

#MarchForOurLives March 24th
National Day Against Gun Violence April 20th

#NotOneMore #NeverAgain

Education, Elections, Ohio, Public Schools, School Board, Schools, Uncategorized

Joe Schiavoni: The Education Candidate

I strongly urge you to vote for Joe Schiavoni for Governor in the Ohio Primary this May. Joe Schiavoni has been fighting for public education, teachers, and children since he took office as a Senator representing the 33rd district in 2009. He played an integral role in the fight against SB 5, which was an attack on teachers, firefighters, police officers, public workers, and their unions. He was very vocal in his opposition when the bill was introduced and worked tirelessly to inform the public about what they could do to fight it when a referendum was put on the ballot.

After SB 5 was roundly defeated, Joe Schiavoni warned that the fight was not over. He believed that parts of the bill would be introduced in new legislation. One of the most controversial examples of this was House Bill 70 (also known as the Youngstown Plan, after the district that would be affected by it first). Much like SB 5, HB 70 was crafted in secret and introduced and passed quickly with very little time for consideration by legislators or input from the public. This resulted in a  lawsuit being filed by the Youngstown School district, YEA, OEA, and AFSCME citing the unconstitutional nature in which the bill was passed. Two years later, the lawsuit has been sent back down to the lower courts and a second district, Lorain, has been taken over by the state. House Bill 70 will allow for an appointed CEO, who need not have any experience in education, to have the power tochange or suspend any rules in place in union contracts, so long as they do not lower the pay and benefits of employees” by year three of a district takeover (among other things). Senator Schiavoni responded by holding more than 20 public meetings in Youngstown to gather feedback from community members so he and Rep. Lepore-Hagan could introduce companion bills based on concerns from the public about the plan. Both bills were sent to committee where they did not get the hearings they deserved before the end of the 131st General Assembly.

Joe Schiavoni also has a long history of introducing and re-introducing bills that will hold charter schools accountable for the tax dollars they receive and the children that they teach. Most recently, he has sponsored  Senate Bill 39, a bill that would insist on stricter guidelines for the reporting of attendance data in e-schools. Senate Bill 175 would allow for a return of state funds to local districts from charter schools, should an audit find that an overpayment was made. With the recent closure of Ohio’s largest e-school, ECOT, and the state still exploring other avenues to recover the money lost to the school now that it has closed, this legislation is timely and desperately needed.

As senator, Joe Schiavoni tried to get an amendment into the budget bill that would have given our current seniors a safe harbor from the new graduation test requirements. He met with some members of the Ohio BATs this past Summer to hear our concerns about the thousands of kids who were not on track to graduate this year due to poor implementation of the requirements and several changes that were made throughout their high school career. While the amendment did not stay in the bill, and there is uncertainty that the alternative pathways that the legislature did accept in the budget bill will be enough to help those students, this is one more example of Senator Schiavoni’s willingness to listen to the concerns of educators and education advocates and act on them. Anyone who supports public education should join me in supporting Joe Schiavoni by voting for him in the Primary next May and the General election next November. I strongly believe that he is the best choice for the next Governor of the state of Ohio. He will continue to fight for our kids, our teachers, and our schools. If you would like to see where he stands on the issues, or would like to get involved in his campaign, you can visit his website at

– Mandy Jablonski

Education, Gun Violence, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized


I am a 3rd grade teacher. 19 8-or 9-year-olds walk in every morning. It is not easy. See, they have to pass a reading test to move on to 4th grade, and a lot of energy and time is devoted to this, and they want to be what they are, kids, and play and talk, and goof off, and it’s really, really hard to move them.

Nevertheless, I persist.

My school is a typical urban elementary, K-6, with all the pressure from the government to raise scores, tweak lessons, always striving for more bang for less buck.

My background included guns from an early age. I shot trap, skeet, sporting clays, and blackbirds in cornfields with a Remington 1100 12 gauge shotgun. I shot cans and bottles with a 22 pistol and quite the array of BB guns. I hate to brag, but I’m a decent shot.

Throughout the year, my school has a variety of drills. We have fire drills, in which the objective is to get kids out quickly, tornado drills, in which the objective is to get the kids to the lowest level of the building quickly, and we have lockdown drills, in which the objective is to get the kids to an area in the classroom which is the least penetrable by bullets and keep them absolutely silent.

Our staff received A.L.I.C.E. training a couple of years ago. We were taught how to teach students to throw books or marbles at an active shooter. We learned to barricade our doors, things we could use as weapons in our classrooms, such as creating a puddle of dish detergent on the floor in front of the door to make the shooter slip, how to throw children out of windows, which would not work in my current building at all, by the way, and the overriding theme was simply, “It’s not IF, but WHEN.”

I have to go to school on Tuesday. The latest slaughter was on Wednesday, and I went numb to school Thursday and Friday.

Thus far in 2018, we are averaging a shooting on school property somewhere in the U.S. every 60 hours.

After tomorrow, we will be due for another.

It would be helpful to have some guidelines from the government here. After all, the government has no issue with making up requirements for promotion to 4th grade, who should graduate, or which teachers are great, mediocre, or should rework their resumes to seek employment outside of education.

I keep checking, but I find nothing.

In the latest incident, there was a smoke-producing device, a fire alarm pulled, and students slaughtered as they followed protocol and filed out of classrooms.

Some legislators (or their unelected but vociferous spouses) ((Sara Marie BRENNER, but not naming names; however, there is a screenshot below the article)) apparently found it in their tainted souls to bring up the fact that murderers can use pressure cookers or cars to slaughter others. And then to ask if we should ban fire alarms. And then to suggest that teachers should arm themselves with handguns to protect their students.

This is a terrible thought. Who in their right mind would want their child taught by a commando? And for many other reasons.

I am sure that one who is intent on murdering others can creatively use a sharpened pencil, a computer cart, a frayed electric pencil sharpener cord, or sundry other available implements to murder. We are rather frail, after all.

My question was, “What should I do for the NEXT fire drill?”

I am still having trouble falling asleep, see, because I think about the fact that, in the latest, but certainly not last, slaughter of schoolchildren on 2-14-2018, teachers like me followed protocol, at least at first, and SENT CHILDREN TO DEATH UNKNOWINGLY.

This awareness is going to haunt me for some time. I grieve for the children, their teachers, their parents, who sent them to school that morning with maybe extra money for a rose or some candy because it was Valentine’s Day, never to see them again except in the morgue. I grieve for innocence. I grieve for what I was before and what I am becoming. I am definitely not my happy-go-lucky self today. All of us share a collective soul, and I grieve for that.

I am not looking forward to Tuesday. I dread the next fire drill.

I want someone with more authority than me to fix this and make it NEVER happen again, but the math part of me knows we are due for another soon.

~Jackie Conrad


Charters, ECOT, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Women

Women’s March in Wooster; Speech by BAT ^0^ Karen Linch


I am here to advocate for our greatest resource – our children!
I am here to advocate for other people’s children.
I am here to advocate for developmentally appropriate instruction and play and joy and curiosity and imagination for ALL children.
I am here to advocate for the greatest equalizer – public schools.

I am here to inform you that school choice is code for privatization.
I am here to inform you that privatization looks like charter schools and vouchers and state take over of districts.

I am here to warn you about people who want to take money from our children to line their own pockets.

• The most powerful offender is Betsy DeVos . . . Secretary of the Federal Department of Education

• Here in Ohio, Bill Lager who founded ECOT; made over $200,000 in campaign contributions in 2015; fortunately, the buck is stopping for him

• David Brennan founded White Hat Management

• Fethullah Gulan founded Concept Schools is running the scammiest of scams all over the United States

I am here to warn you our state is taking over local school districts, leaving parents and students and teachers and school board members with no voice.

I am here to notify you that the term accountability is being used as the tool to privatize public schools:
Step #1 – paint our schools as failing and
Step #2 – paint educators as lazy and incompetent.

I am here to notify you that accountability has successfully accomplished these two things, making it easy for politicians to make laws that hurt our children.

I am here to notify you that our politicians are using the American Legislative Exchange Council (a.k.a. ALEC) to bring forth similar legislation all across the United States that hurts our schools.

I am here to remind you that children do not develop at the same rate; children are NOT standard.
I am here to remind you a standardized test is the least effective way to show a child’s growth.
I am here to remind you that teachers with personal relationships with children are able to show growth.
I am here to remind you that WE fail children when we have an incredibly narrow definition of success.
I am here to remind you women predominately work in classrooms.

I am here to tell you these women know what they’re doing.
Often, it’s not safe to speak up. Lady teachers . . . YOU are the experts!

I am here to tell you standardized tests have hijacked the time teachers have to teach.

I am here to tell you educators feel defeated when a child is labeled a failure according to 1 test.

I am here to tell you the relationships we build with students are far more valuable than a test score.

I am here to tell you educators are the first to admit schools can to do better for our children.

I am here to encourage you to support your local public schools.

I am here to encourage you to attend the meetings of your local school board. Those meetings are open to the public. Ask questions. Ask board members how often they go into classrooms?

I am here to encourage you to ask your legislators and candidates – who are the teachers you ask to help inform your decisions regarding education? How many classrooms and schools have you visited this school year?

I am here to alert you that educators feel deeply. When you believe the fallacy that our schools are failing, we hurt.

I am here to alert you that teachers . . . especially our newest teachers . . . are wasting precious time on paperwork and actions that do not help them help children.

I am here to let you know our public schools are NOT failing.

I am here to let you know we are not taking seriously what it takes to create a quality public school for ALL children.

I am here to let you know we can do better and we must do better together.

I am here to let you know about a website called Know Your Charter. You can find out how charters schools are doing in your local district. You can find out how much of your tax dollars are leaving to support failing charter schools.

Remember this and repeat after me . . . Know Your Charter 5X

Thank you

#OhioGradCrisis, Charters, Data, ECOT, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

ECOT now ECOY…. Oh, Despicable Him

ecot blog

ECOT now ECOY…. Oh, Despicable Him
by: Kelly Ann Braun

*please note: words in bold type are links!*

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow will now be the Experimental Catastrophe of Yesterday.

The largest school in Ohio, the biggest charter scam in Ohio, has (at long last) lost their sponsor. They are closing their doors.

So, after actively fighting calculated greed and conniving thievery behind the nearly two decades of direct and indirect destructive effects of William Lager’s education entrepreneurial enterprise, one would think we (public education activists) would all be hooting, hollering and relishing the victory.

But that is NOT the case. Quite the opposite, I am personally, as are scores of others, scathingly infuriated with William Lager and ALL those who took those millions of dirty dollars all those years. He preyed upon dear families’ desperation. He exploited the needs of children. He downed his oversized ego dominos right into 1000s of brick and mortar classrooms. And now sickeningly, all who were robbed in the first place to pave the way to his riches will pay once again for his inevitable failed outcome.

12,000 displaced, dislocated, and disjointed students will now see their school year chopped cruelly in half. Above that number, how many (1000s upon 1000s) of frustrated parents will now scramble to obtain the papers necessary to transfer transcripts and medical information etc., to the next place in their child’s forced move? Additionally nearly 1000 staff and faculty are now also stuck in the full-fledged muckery mudslide and out-of-work midyear! What an utter, ugly, unacceptable mess.

I fear terribly, that huge numbers from this whole fiasco will just not graduate this year or complete the year. I honestly, in a totally guessing manner, believe that 1/3 will make their way to some other “non-profit-but-ridiculously-high-administrative-pay-via-tax-dollars” online schools, who, like ECOT, struggle to validate participation and attendance. 1/3 will make their way back into the overcrowded classrooms where the wrongly diverted monies to charters have caused teacher shortages. In the very same public schools where necessary specialty services of counselors, therapists, and nurses have been sacrificed, while the means to resource such through public tax dollars, paid for a private billion-dollar estate in Florida. And the final 1/3 will “lose” this entire year and need to repeat next year. I pray I am way off on my numbers. I want to be extremely wrong about this.

I find it depressing and unbelievable that it took 17 years before any fair and just legal motions could come against such crookery.  The millions that Lager threw back at ‘certain’ politicians for their campaigns was never a secret. I am disturbed that the fight for proper stewardship of Ohio’s education-denoted funds, took this long in order to get past the guarded back-door swindle deals.

I am so thankful for Senator Joe Schiavoni staying the course. He has spent years putting forth bills and legislation which were continually, intentionally misdirected to this or that committee to die. He never stopped though.  I witnessed first-hand, the hardball games that the GOP played to keep this corrupt circle of cash flowing. The intimidation tactics, the snide under-handed tricks, the boldface lies, the white-collar-crimes ignored, and the gang-like loyalty to those in the inner circles, were constant under Kasich’s administration. But, none of that caused Joe to yield or back down. He knew what was good and right for his constituents’ children. He knew what was good and right for Ohio. The harder the ones with lined-pockets came at him or against the truths, the more calmly focused and inexhaustibly determined he became to represent the true primary stakeholders. And yet, I know Joe is not whooping it up and celebrating this either. He is, I am positive, absolutely concerned for the all of the children, and families whose lives were just abruptly sent into chaos and uncertainty. He released this timeline and official statement just hours ago (I already had this blog 90% written).

I have humbly only been an education activist for coming up on five years now, and I have had to fight like crazy against quitting entirely or becoming concrete in cynicism. I know how grueling it is to put forth so much time and energy year after year after year, to only ever see the same disparaging rigged results. This is why my gratitude for anyone’s long-standing part in the fight for public education is so genuine.

While I am giving a very personal heart-felt and mind-solaced shout out to Senator Schiavoni for championing this cause all the way through to the bitter end, I would like to furthermore recognize others who have also remained steadfast in speaking against rampant charter scams in Ohio.

To all the sincere politicians who did not cave into to sizeable Lager donations, thank you more than I’ll be able to ever express.

To all my dear activist friends and other warriors who I have not met, who have advocated and fought hard for children for decades, I admire your dedicated endurance.

To all writers, I would like to express my gratefulness for those, who for so many (too many) years, researched, interviewed, compiled, wrote, and published articles with damning evidence against ECOT. I wonder how many of you 10 years ago, or 4 years ago, or 6 months ago, thought that surely when folks read your latest set of condemning facts that people in a pitchfork-manner would finally shut ECOT down. And yet, it did not happen for so very long that combined all of you have hundreds upon hundreds of ECOT or Lager-related articles in your files. To write with no change ever occurring over such a long course of time, takes a stamina that most do not hold. I hope that you will recognize that ALL of your archived articles paint a chronological record which will serve now as proof-positive that the privatization of public schools for profit (whether they hide under the misnomer of “non-profit” or not), does not work!

This is a very incomplete list, in no certain order whatsoever, of the writers who again and again covered the topic of DESPICABLE HIM (William Lager):

Greg Mild with the Plunderbund is a teacher currently. He is a digger of truths and facts; an artiste at using the Public Information Act. He wrote extensively about ECOT and William Lager for years and the topic is searchable on his site. Thank you Greg, you not only pieced chunks together, but you often wrote with straightforward underlying emote that matched my own. Here is one article from 2014, but numerous others can be searched and read.

Kevin Griffin is also a public education teacher, who like Greg, writes without being paid to do so. He denoted an incredible amount of hours, for quite some years also, and specifically targeted ECOT on his ECOT EXPOSED site. His page was an invaluable resource for those of us fighting to say “Stop…. stealing from our students!” Thank you Kevin for your persevering part in letting the public in on Ohio’s ‘chartergate’ secrets!

Jan Resseger is a sweetheart whose heart truly is for all children. I had a perchance meeting and car ride with her one time after a rallying march in DC, where I got separated from my friends, caught in the rain, and had no wallet. Her diligence in exposing ECOT and others is rooted in pure love for the true profession of education. Thank you Jan, for relentlessly calling evil and greed, exactly that. Her organized site, as I was looking up articles to cite in my piece, was where I was so struck with how very extensively this whole ugly topic has been covered for years without the ability to stop anything, until now.

Steve Dyer is a phenomenal number cruncher. I cannot count the times I and others launched our emails, research, actions and testimonies etc. from charts and statistics that Steve would provide. Thank you Steve, for countering the dizziness of trying to follow the contorted money paths by organizing and providing thoroughly logical sets of information on your 10th Period Blog!

Progress Ohio has put together an ongoing Charter School Scandal Chronology. ECOT is (was) the biggest, and one of the worst, but certainly a far cry from being the only charter scam being run in Ohio. Others too, are flooding monies to their ‘businesses’ disguised to look like public schools, taking full advantage of the non-profit status, and pumping that money straight to the top, and out the door so that a very few people are raking in the millions upon millions, while the children are the ones being completely shortchanged.

Doug Livingston, of the Akron Beacon Journal, was the first one who I personally found was on-target in speaking out about White Hat’s David Brennan and ECOT’s William Lager. Thank you very much Doug, for covering so much of it all for so long!

Patrick O’Donnell with the Cleveland Plain Dealer also has attended meetings and hearings, in order to report on ECOT so many, many times. Thank you Patrick for your writing and for tagging Ohio BATs on exactly what you know will involve and concern us!
The Public Education Partners (many who are also in Ohio BATs) ran an incredible action and managed to get different school districts to bill the ODE, using official resolutions, for the money lost to ECOT. The numbers were staggering when shown in that direct manner. Here is the writing start of that action. Here is a list of the 79 school districts that sent in resolutions via this awareness action.

Finally, I was truly grateful and at the same time completely irked at how very many times Diane Ravitch wrote about ECOT in her blog.  Diane is a Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE). She is my inspiration and a treasured friend of education everywhere. Actually, when I spoke with her in person, she and I immediately had a ton to talk about. As soon as I mentioned I was from Ohio, she impressed me at how she was right on top of all of the current charter and other education scams being run in Ohio. She does not mince words; that is for positive. I am always grateful anytime she speaks of Ohio, for she has a very vast following. One also could search her blog site to find a slew of articles related to ECOT and William Lager. Unfortunately, ECOT is not just notorious in Ohio. It is sadly a nationally-known embarrassment.

In closing I would like to reiterate that this list is just a FEW of the ones who demanded transparency and accountability where taxes were abused and a full generation of children were involved.

In the last couple of days, as it looked more and more apparent that ECOT had run out of all finagling options, I heard an interview and read an article that remarked something to the effect that ECOT’s money troubles began last year.

No, No, absolutely not—- the money troubles did NOT begin last year.

The money troubles began when William Lager was scribbling out plans on napkins to remedy his personal bankrupt situation nearly 20 years ago, as this Columbus Dispatch article clearly lays out. The only way to entirely understand the end of this terrible scenario is by being absolutely certain on how the whole entire thing started in the first place. The main reparation that can come now, moving forward, is to not allow children to ever be figured into someone’s financial loss woes or financial gain schemes. Children are too precious to be belittled as mere business numbers and toxic desire for profit.

“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.” ~ Rudolf Steiner

Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized

Ohio BATs Agree with OSBA, BASA, & OFT’s Amicus Brief about HB70

signatures of support

Ohio BATs extends its sincere gratitude to the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers for their joint filing of an amicus brief in opposition to state takeovers via House Bill 70. As amici explain so well, the process and the intent of the amendment, that ultimately was introduced and passed on the same day, was an affront to the entire democratic process of our governance.


We completely agree with their statement: “Amici share a keen interest in preserving the local, community-centered autonomy of local school boards. Voters elect the members of their districts’ school boards from their own communities, and school districts, in turn, have authority over their districts. But R.C. 3302.10, enacted in Am.Sub.HB 70, upends this system by unconstitutionally usurping the powers of school boards and, by extension, the will of the voters who elected the board members. And it does so in violation of Article VI, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution as well as the Equal Protection clause.” Read the full brief here:

When we see amici representing Ohio’s school board members, superintendents, and educators against the state, then it is clear there was an egregious and corrupt attempt to disregard the voices of experts through HB 70. The bill’s intent is an entrepreneurial endeavor designed by the elite. One that is most costly to children and cold to communities. One that indiscreetly discriminates and racially divides. One that has no empathy for the socio-economically disadvantaged. One that is morally bankrupt and intentionally moot about the ill-effects and failures of this greed-driven educational experimentation thus far.  

Our signatures below are a strong stance in solidarity with the amici’s legal challenge put forth in the brief and in unity with all other groups of public school primary stakeholders who are also vehemently opposed to HB 70 and its broad destructive future plans.


Kelly A. Braun, 30 years in some form of education-related jobs; currently a pre-K teacher

Brittany Alexander, 21 year educator

Karen Linch, 18 year educator

Linda Englert Kennedy, 35 years, since 1983

Gary Gilbert, father of two, educator in some form for 30 years.

Debra Testa Fedyna, 35 years elementary teaching, 6 years University of Mount Union adjunct professor, supervisor of student teachers

Michelle Amber Clark, 7 year educator

Sherm Koons, 20 year educator

Tucker Kari MacDonald Tucker, 22 year educator

Rania Fowler, 20 years

Kelly Modlich, 19 years public school educator, 8 year pre-school educator

Wendy Duke, 22 yrs now retired

Laura Valendza, 15 years

Karen Dodson-Glanzer, 21 year educator

Teresa Brown, 35 year educator

Marti Franks, 44 years in secondary education, retired but still an activist.

Mary Reed, 20 year educator

Ana Chapman, 25-year educator and 4-year school board member

Elizabeth Evans, 9 years teaching

Beth Egbert, 19 years

Brandon Parsons, 13-year educator, parent for 13 years

Julie Cohan, educator and parent for 25 years

Melodie Larsen, 31 years teaching in urban public education

Jackie Conrad, 25 year educator

June Krayer, 16 years in education

Rhonda Chartier, Elementary education 13 years

Billie Sarich, 31 years, elementary education

Carrie Preston, teacher, 20 years, mother of 3 grandmother of 5

Stephani Itibrout, 21 years high school teacher

Marty Perlaky, 27 years secondary education

Danielle Carey, 23 year educator

Dawn Neely-Randall, 28 years teaching in public education

Jocelyn Weeda, PhD., 23 year educator

Douglas Edwards, 34 year public school educator

Isabel Bozada, 3 year educator

Geoff D. Mize, 19 years public school educator

Rebecca Kleinhenz, 18 years public school educator
Shannon Brazzil, 21 years 8th Grade Special Education

Travis Pennell, 10 years

Eckhart Marylouise Eckhart, 30 years in public schools now retired

Larry Ellis, 17 year public school educator

Mary Palmstrom, 35 years in public schools, retired

Andrea White, Ph.D., 25-year-educator

Becki Schwab, 14 yrs public school educator

Hauer Katie Hauer, 28 year educator

Tom A. Traut, 30 years in public school – retired

Abby Vaile, 39 years as an educator

Myra Keller, 9 years

Laurie Maravetz, 25 years public school educator

Beth Wilson-Fish, 34 years in education, 2 years on public School Board
Charlandra Lundy, public school educator, 23 years

Jeanne Melvin, educator – 3 years corporate-owned private school and 36 years public school district

Amy Fihe, 23 years

Paula Garfield, Retired- 32 years in public schools, Behavior Intervention Teacher/Specialist

Linda Limbach, 35+ years as public school educator and 3 years as an educational consultant

Stephanie Jordan, 16 yrs public educator

Mandy Jablonski, parent, supporter of public education

Matt Jablonski, 18 years public school teacher

Vickie Briercheck, 30 years

Soozie Kish-Hetterscheidt, 17 years

Jo Guido, 33 years

Dan Heintz, 15 years teaching in public education

Jane Barnes, 14 years in public education

Anita Beck, retired 37 yr public school educator

Denis Smith, Retired 36 years public school teacher and administrator

Diane Valentino, 28 year public educator

Rhonna Smith, 25 year public school Intervention Specialist

Matthew Smith, 31 years public school educator-retired

Ruth V. Spanos, 14 years public school Speech-Language Pathologist

Chris Thomas, Retired public school teacher-28 years

Jessica Bosak, parent/home preschool educator, public school supporter

Jinnifer Roach, public school teacher for 21 years

Margaret Moschell, public school teacher for 19 years

Maureen Reedy, retired educator, 36 years of experience, Ohio Teacher of the Year, 2002, Upper Arlington Teacher of the Year, 2001

Stacey Higgins, 22 years experience

Brenda Moran Schaefer, 20 years experience

Sarae Pacetta, early childhood educator, 21 years experience

Pamela Sneary Spadaro, 21 years of teaching

Melissa Marini Švigelj-Smith, 20 years teaching

Penny Parish-Brown, 34 years, 14 as a teacher and 20 as a School Psychologist

Rachel Rowen, public school teacher, 9 years