Peggy Lehner’s love note to e-schools

The Senator writes a note to an ECOT teacher claiming she doesn’t want to shut down their school

By Connor Brown


Peggy Lehner continues her pattern of talking out of both sides of her mouth. 3rd Rail recently uncovered a handwritten note she sent to an ECOT teacher claiming that she has “no interest in closing down ECOT,” that she “doesn’t know where that idea came from” and that her only concern is the children “in the shadows.” She goes on to admit that “e-schools have a more difficult time demonstrating attendance but it is important that we figure it out.”

First, I can help her address this perplexing question as to “where the idea came from” that she wishes to shut down ECOT. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact she regularly trashes ECOT in the press. Or that she works closely alongside an organization that wishes to put the school out of business. Or perhaps it’s because she blatantly stated “ECOT needs to close” in an October 25th interview with 3rd Rail Editor Cyndy Rees, (and we’re sure this isn’t the first and only time she’s uttered the phrase). Take your pick, Senator, but one of those reasons is probably why this ECOT teacher feels you want to shut down her school.

As for her “only concern” being about the children “in the shadows,” that is just bogus. Under Senator Lehner’s plan, only a handful of charters would exist, leaving fewer options for families trying to escape a school system that has left them in the shadows. But those “in the shadows students” better hope they still have good grades, because the Lehner-Fordham model for charter schools is to pre-screen students and only accept those they feel are a good fit. Meaning, the rest of the kids are left with no options. Hope you enjoy the shade, kids!

Finally, for all this talk about figuring out a better way to fund e-schools or determine attendance, the Senator has been noticeably absent in presenting a solution. As the go-to expert on all education issues for the Senate (apparently), why hasn’t she proposed a solution to fairly track attendance by e-schools or to figure out a new funding mechanism. Even at the June 12 State Board of Education meeting, where she is a non-voting member, the Senator sat silently as the Board voted to claw back $60 million dollars from ECOT in a retroactive process which prompted a lawsuit. Those at ECOT and the other e-schools on the chopping block likely agree it’s something “we need to figure out,” but Senator Lehner seems content to wait. Perhaps she’ll jump on this problem once all the e-schools have closed their doors to the students they serve who live “in the shadows.”