The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 21
Friday’s abrupt closing of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow and the heartache it is causing families across Ohio are the direct result of weak state charter-school laws and a company that collected millions in taxpayer dollars for students it wasn’t educating.
ECOT officials point out, correctly, that until a law change in 2015, Ohio charter schools weren’t required to actually document that students “attended,” i.e. logged in and completed assignments on a regular basis.
Lawmakers and the Ohio Department of Education share some of the blame for that. Ohio’s charter-school laws were, from the start, exceedingly friendly to big campaign donors who would go on to use them to make a buck. Numerous attempts over the years to reform the laws and strengthen oversight have been stymied by the charter-school lobby and legislators friendly to it.
We wish the best for former ECOT families coping with the loss of their school, and we hope that more-ethical online schools will arise to serve them and others who want online education. It can and should be a good option for Ohio families; it shouldn’t be a vehicle to enrich savvy players and friendly politicians.
The Star-Beacon, Jan. 21
There are so many factors that go into suicide, particularly teenage suicide, that there is no one-size-fits all solution. For some children it can be bullying in school or online, while others might not have the tools to cope with troubles in their home lives. Still other teenagers might find pressure in school to be overwhelming. And that’s not to discount those young adults dealing with chemical imbalances who might not even understand why they feel the way they do.
One of the most helpful and far-reaching things loved ones can do is to communicate and work to remove the stigma that often accompanies talking about and addressing such issues.
Of course, in order to begin those conversations, parents must be aware and engaged with their children enough to know when something is troubling them. Again, communication and conversation on a regular basis is the best approach to developing such a rapport. And these efforts are not and should not just be limited to parents but extend to other adults, such as coaches and teachers, who play an important role in our children’s lives.
Adults cannot be afraid to ask the tough questions because they are scared they won’t know what to do with the answers.
The Marietta Times, Jan. 19
Few people have any argument with the government seizing property owned by a drug trafficker. Often, houses, cars, boats, etc., not to mention the pusher’s cash, were obtained by breaking the law.
But what about someone merely accused of a crime? We Americans are innocent until proven guilty, right?
Welcome to the world of civil asset forfeiture. Under both state and federal laws, the authorities can seize property they believe was used in criminal activities. Not infrequently, they use the proceeds to buy law enforcement equipment.
Prosecutors can file motions to take property even if no one has been convicted of a crime. Once that happens, it is up to the owners to argue against the motion in court. In other words, the person whose possessions have been taken must go to court, usually by hiring an attorney, to prove he or she has not used the property in a crime.
… Some safeguards should be provided for members of criminals’ families who may have been unaware their loved ones were breaking the law, however.
And under no circumstances should police and prosecutors be permitted to take possessions unless proof has been provided in court that crimes have occurred — and that the owners of the property in question are guilty.