Now that a courageous whistleblower has come forward to reveal compelling evidence that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow engaged in a scheme to defraud Ohio taxpayers out of millions of dollars to educate children they never really had, it’s clear the rats are running fast from the former e-school giant.
However, their past is riddled with examples of protection granted by powerful Ohio politicians, including ones now talking “tough” about ECOT. The issue has been bounced upon by statewide candidates, while those who benefited from millions of dollars worth of ECOT-related campaign contributions are ducking for cover.
The reason is because now that it’s pretty clear that ECOT officials tried to subvert the system to keep getting paid for kids they didn’t really educate, criminal investigations may soon begin. And that’s bad for many politicians because this same whistleblower contacted them on several occasions and was met with inaction.
This issue is dangerous for so many politicians because so many politicians took so many greenbacks from ECOT officials, especially the school’s founder, William Lager. Now that Lager may be facing serious legal entanglements, politicians who spoke at their graduations, or took honorary degrees from school officials are paying for their unwillingness to hold this school to account for 18 years.
ECOT was caught overcharging the state in its first year of existence. Only 109 of more than 3,700 graduates from 2010 have college degrees today. But ECOT was allowed to continue defrauding taxpayers and, worst of all, the children and parents who were fooled into thinking ECOT was an educational operation rather than what it really was: A $1 billion taxpayer boondoggle.
And now newspaper editorial boards are pointing out the obvious: ECOT is now politically radioactive. As the Toledo Blade said this morning:
Ohio’s student reimbursement money is as sacred as any taxpayer money can be. It is a duty of lawmakers to make sure that it is distributed scandal-free and with strict regard to fairness and honesty.
The state of Ohio failed miserably in that regard with ECOT, and the children of Ohio are the victims.