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Published: Saturday, 2/10/2001

Get answers from eCOT

Innovative efforts in education often incur stumbling blocks early on. But with half the school year over, eCOT, Ohio's “Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow,” needs to quickly iron out complaints that the charter school failed to supply students with computers and teachers.

eCOT boasts an enrollment of more than 2,000 students. However, since fall when the school opened, more than two dozen complaints from the Toledo area alone have been lodged against the school, which is sponsored by the Lucas County Educational Service Center. Some parents say that since enrolling their children, they haven't received a contract from the school, a teacher, computers, or Internet service providers.

Republican state Rep. Lynn Olman of Maumee wants eCOT officials to appear at a hearing before the legislature's primary and secondary education subcommittee. That's fair. The online school's administrators must address the issues raised by the complaints. As Mr. Olman says, if there really is no problem, fine. But if there is, the school must be held accountable.

Charter schools are one more choice on a growing list of options for parents to select for their children. Since state legislators established the schools in Ohio more than three years ago, 17,000 Ohio students have enrolled. That figure reflects an increase of 9,500 students over last year.

Some setbacks are anticipated with new ventures. But in this case, students should have had the required equipment, basic essential services, and teachers for them to do schoolwork. It's ludicrous for a school, charter or otherwise, to expect students to meet academic demands if students don't have fundamental material.

eCOT administrators must address these issues, satisfy state demands, and compensate students who may still not have the necessary equipment or services. Anything less hurts the charter school movement.

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