#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

Charters, ECOT, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized

Teacher Stance with Senator Schiavoni and Ohio Democratic Caucuses

signature ECOT

Ohio BATs stands in solidarity with members of the Ohio Senate and House Democratic Caucuses whose amicus brief defends the Ohio Department of Education in its review of funding for electronic schools – the basis of a lawsuit stemming from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). We applaud our minority party legislators for standing up on behalf of students, families, schools, and taxpayers, who are all being bilked by ECOT.


We agree with the amici that compulsory education, in all its forms, requires documentation beyond mere learning opportunities offered by electronic schools. To receive any portion of state tax dollars, all schools must ensure that students are participating in their learning through required attendance procedures and policies.


“In its gradual approach to adding funding oversight to e-schools, the General Assembly recognized the core experimental nature of community schools and balanced it against responsible stewardship of public funds and the obligation to ensure children are educated.” We concur with this assessment of intent behind legislative changes regarding e-schools. Read the full brief here: https://supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf_viewer.aspx?pdf=834613.pdf


We sincerely thank Ohio’s Democratic Caucus legislators for defending our children, protecting public education, and safeguarding our tax dollars, with special recognition to Senator Joe Schiavoni for leading this effort. The signatures below show our support of these amici.


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

thank you

Education, Elections, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

Rep. Andy Brenner—you have been called out!


via Janet Breneman

Columbus- October 3, 2016

Democratic candidate Janet Breneman, candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives 67th District, challenges incumbent Andy Brenner to a debate.

Janet Breneman, a progressive education and health advocate, challenging the seat of State Representative Andrew Brenner, says it’s time for citizens to break the stranglehold, which Brenner has held on voters.

“For too long voters have accepted the empty rhetoric of Andy Brenner- a lackluster mouthpiece of local conservatives- and now we are holding him accountable.”

Brenner further had the audacity to text me stating “I’m in a Republican District where the index is over 65%, why are you running against me?’

A recent position statement by media outlet Cleveland.Com notes the state wide concern regards the performance and costs of charter schools-and specifically lambastes Andy Brenner for referring to public education as “socialism”, a statement for which Brenner later apologized.

“It’s the teachers of this country, and public schools which provide the backbone for education in our great country”, adds Janet Breneman. “I challenge him to a debate on the topic, and I want the public to see whether he can rise to that challenge, or cower.

Further, I hereby now ask Andrew Brenner to return the campaign donations he accepted from ECOT founder, William Lager.

Ohio taxpayers are spending $108 million for only approximately 8,000 ECOT students to attend- which is significantly less than what ECOT said was their attendance figures, according to the Ohio Dept. of Education.

Janet Breneman may be reached at: BrenemanForOhio@gmail.com or by phone



Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

Expressing Gratitude for Judge French’s Ruling Regarding ECOT


Ohio BATs, affiliated with Badass Teachers Association
October 4, 2016

The Honorable Jenifer French
Judge, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
Common Pleas Courthouse, Courtroom 6A
345 South High Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Judge French:

We are writing to you today with our sincere gratitude on behalf of the students we serve in our learning environments every day. The ECOT decision handed down by you will have a rippling effect on the virtual school industry in Ohio.

For the past nearly twenty years, our state has operated all of its 614 school districts under an unconstitutional funding system. Further compounding this problem is the funding of charter schools, including virtual schools like ECOT. This is the crux of the real problem with our public schools. Many of our public schools are underfunded, especially the schools serving students who are living in poverty. Quite frankly, public schools serving students who live in poverty require more resources to ensure all students are successful (yet they continue to have those resources stripped). We do not define success by using test scores.
ECOT receives higher per pupil funding than most all public schools and they continue to fail our students . . . most often our most vulnerable students. We wonder what our public schools would look like if each of our students received the same amount without restrictions. We are quite confident we can do a much better job than ECOT. We already know we do a better job with less money.
Those of us who advocate on behalf of our students everyday oftentimes feel we are not heard and we feel helpless – not a good feeling! Then a decision from a judge reinforces our
determination to ensure our students are provided with everything necessary to be successful.

Again, thank you!

Ohio BAT Administrators



What About Students, Parents and Teachers?


Ohio BAT Greg Mild, who writes for PLUNDERBUND, is top-notch at presenting deep, connecting truths related to education in Ohio. Though this article about charter school millionaire William Lager, is a little over a year old, the information is still needing to reach many eyes and understanding. Bruce Knecht, also a BAT, commented under a thread where the ECOT article was posted. He had these truths and context connectors to share about the “for-profit”-charter-take-over-syndrome:

“The case of William Lager is typical of what has been occurring during the current era of “education reform.” Let me offer a view of the broader context in which this is occurring. The present version of education reform is the product of a convergence of forces, representing a conjunction of political and economic power, that have vested interests in seeing that the reform agenda (more charters, CCSS, more standardized tests, higher stakes attached to those tests, etc.) is implemented.

Budget allocations of state and federal departments of education must be protected.
Political and bureaucratic control must be exerted over public schools.
Elected politicians must raise large sums to contend in the next election cycle.
Corporate profits must keep growing, which entails that more and more taxpayer dollars intended for public schools are transferred into the coffers of corporate vendors (Pearson, ECOT, et. al.) even as funding for schools is cut.

This creates a network of symbiotic relationships (an education-industrial complex) among government bureaucrats, politicians, corporations, and the private investment community which serves the essential interests of all the players in the game. What about students, parents, and teachers? They are simply not counted as players in the game – until now they have been effectively shut out of the process.

This is a “reform” effort that is driven entirely by elites, the net effect of which is to create a system of perverse incentives. It is in the interests of the players in this game to maintain the problems of education, not to solve them! In so doing, they keep a mutually beneficial game going. Of course, they must create the appearance that solutions are being sought (involvement without efficacy). Thus, just as it is imperative to find (fabricate?) a clear and present national security threat in order to maintain the military-industrial complex, it is necessary to sustain the narrative of failing public schools in order to promote the growth of the education-industrial complex.

The concomitant weakening of the public school system can provide still further justification for the urgent pursuit of “education reform.”

Welcome to the Brave New World of American Education!”