Putting Education Reform To The Test

Student Impersonated Teacher At Ohio Online School For More Than A Year

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In a world where education has gone virtual, how do you know who's teaching the kids?

Yesterday we told you that Florida is investigating accusations the nation’s largest online education firm, K12, was using teachers who were not properly certified.

Out colleagues at StateImpact Ohio found an online teacher who had hired a former student to do the job for her. It was more than a year before students learned their teacher was a college dropout who had worked at Burger King and in a hospital laundry.

From the story:

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow found out about the incident only after the hired student complained to the school about not being paid. ECOT, as the school is known, fired the teacher, Marilyn Hiestand, the following week. The State Board of Education is set to revoke her teaching licenses next week.

“She had in essence outsourced parts of her job to a former ECOT student and that’s clearly against our policy,” ECOT spokesperson Nick Wilson said.

In response to ECOT’s notice of her termination, Hiestand wrote, “I hired a former student to assist me. I did not realize this was a hiring offense.”

School officials said the assistant graded student work, sent them assignments and answered questions. Hiestand gave the assistant her username and password, which meant the assistant could access student records.

The school does not use any biometric identification, but now requires more “live” interaction between teachers and requires principals to monitor classroom lessons online.


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