This is a smart kid.  He would have done well no matter what school he was in, as long as his parents advocated for him.  K12 is just lucky enough that his parents chose them.  They really had nothing to do with his success.  

Submitted by K12 Inc. on Thu, 06/16/2016 – 2:27pm

GCA Salutatorian Kevin Abraham shows off his newly-awarded diploma at graduation on May 21st, 2016.

Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) student Kevin Abraham has always been ahead of the game when it comes to his studies. This held true for his graduation day, as GCA’s Salutatorian took the stage at age 15!

Kevin’s road to early graduation began when he skipped kindergarten, tested out of 7th grade math while in the 6th grade, and tested out of 11th grade math at the end of his 7th grade year. Kevin began online schooling at Michigan Virtual Charter Academy (MVCA).

When his family moved to Georgia, Kevin remained within the K12 family and began his schooling at GCA during the spring semester of 10th grade. This culminated in early graduation for Kevin, one of GCA’s 701 graduating seniors in 2016.

Such an extraordinary high school experience required extraordinary teachers and administrators to make it all happen. Kevin notes that his teachers were always ready to help, both inside and outside of their areas of academic expertise. The counselors were constantly willing to lend a hand, as well.

“Since I was not taking a traditional route through high school, the counselors, especially Mr. Tim Melvin, were very helpful in getting the details worked out in time for graduation,” Kevin said.

Additionally, the structure of online schooling helped Kevin. “The one thing I enjoyed most about Georgia Cyber Academy, and online schooling in general, is the flexibility,” Kevin said.

Such flexibility allowed Kevin to pursue an accelerated academic path and to take dual enrollment classes at a local college. It also allowed Kevin to visit his grandparents in India while simultaneously attending school.

Kevin, who has been taking mainly dual enrollment classes for the past two years, says GCA provided him with a solid learning foundation. Kevin already knew much of the college material being taught in his first year of dual enrollment from his lessons with GCA!

“I feel the curriculum prepared me for a college education extremely well,” Kevin said.

Kevin will attend Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall to pursue a major in Computer Engineering. 

Note: K12, inc operates Insight of Ohio, and Ohio Virtual Academy…

William Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, has been tracking the movement by school districts to bill the state for money lost to charters. Ohio has many charters rated D or F by the state that divert funding from public schools.  Be sure to read the linked letter.

He writes in his latest post:

“Morgan Local School Board invoices the state for $1,138,235 in local funds deducted for charter schools


“School districts continue to invoice the state. The Morgan invoice is for local levy funding only. Superintendent Lori Snyder-Lowe’s thoughtful letter to the state emphasizes the education abuse suffered by charter students residing in the Morgan Local School District. The dismal performance of charters should be of grave concern to all local district officials and educators. Is it not a fiduciary responsibility of local school officials to ensure their students the most efficacious educational opportunity possible?


“State officials have the constitutional responsibility to secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools. The Ohio system was declared unconstitutional four times by the Ohio Supreme Court. Since those declarations, $7 billion has been deducted from school districts for the parasitical charter industry.”

William Phillis

Larry Lee started his own blog, which is a good thing, because he understands Alabama politics and cares deeply about improving public education.

In this post, he follows the money that preceded the legislature’s approval of charter schools.

He writes:

Even an amateur swami with a cloudy crystal ball could have told us how the recent vote to approve charter schools in Alabama would play out. In fact, he didn’t even have to look at his ball, they could have looked at 2014 campaign financial disclosures instead.

There they would have found a trail of contributions of thousands and thousands of dollars from charter supporters to friendly legislators.

This bill passed the Senate 22-12 the first time it was voted on. One senator did not vote, eight Democrats voted against it, as did the one Independent and three Republicans. All yes votes were Republican.

Interesting that in the deep South, the Democrats know what “school choice” will lead to. Segregation.

Where did the money come from?

The “Big Three” donors supporting charters last year were Bob Riley’s Alabama 2014 PAC, the Business Council of Alabama’s Progress PAC (run by Billy Canary) and Speaker Mike Hubbard’s Storm PAC. (These three have also been strong supporters of the Alabama Accountability Act.)

Together, they spent $5.1 million dollars in 2014 in hopes of having friendly politicians in place. Obviously their plan worked well. This money came from an assortment of sources. While BCA depends on their Alabama members for support, the Riley and Hubbard PACs cast a wider net and got checks from across the country. Companies such a Pfizer, General Electric, Anheuser Busch, Cemex and International Paper donated. As did pay day lenders and charter supporters like StudentsFirst and K12….

Let’s take a closer look at how the pot was split in the Senate.

None of the eight Democrats or the lone Independent who voted against charters got a penny from Riley, Hubbard or BCA. The Republican who did not vote got $1,000 and the three Republicans who voted “nay” got a total of $77,000, mostly from BCA.

Of the 22 Republican “yea” votes, one who few thought would win, got nothing. Of the remaining 21, six had either no opposition or token opposition. They only received $8,000 total. The remaining 15 got $987,815 in all, an average of $65,854 each. However, some were more equal than others as five got more than $100,000 each.

In addition to contributions from the “Big Three,” StudentsFirst, a Sacramento, CA group with 10 lobbyists in Alabama, spent $61,958. And the Alabama Federation for Children, which was solely supported by checks from millionaires in California, Michigan and Arkansas spent $101,748. Evidently “Alabama values” include California millionaires.

In all, the 15 senators who had substantial challenges got $1,142,522 from the charter supporters just mentioned for an average of $76,168.

Follow the money. It’s rightwing money to privatize public education.

via Diane Ravitch’s blog

Three Families Sue to Keep Tennessee Virtual Academy Open

Three families of children with disabilities sued to prevent the state from closing down the Tennessee Virtual Academy.TVA is one of the lowest performing schools in the state. The virtual charter school is operated by K12 Inc. the for-profit corporation founded by Michael and Lloyd Milken and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.Under state law Tennessees education commissioner has the authority to close the school if it ranks among the worst performers for three consecutive years. The school has consistently been ranked 1 on a 5-point scale with 1 being the worst and 5 the best since it opened in 2011. Critics have called it a failure and said the for-profit corporation that provides the curriculum is more interested in making money than educating children.It would be interesting to learn who is paying the legal fees for these families. via Diane Ravitch’s blog

Does the Onion have secret sources inside the U.S. Department of Education? its stories are typically a week ahead of the real news. Some things are impossible to satirize.

“WASHINGTON—Citing the need to measure student achievement as its top priority, the U.S. Department of Education launched a new initiative Thursday to replace the nation’s entire K-12 curriculum with a single standardized test.

“According to government officials, the four-hour-long Universal Education Assessment will be used in every public school across the country, will contain identical questions for every student based on material appropriate for kindergarten through 12th grade, and will permanently take the place of more traditional methods such as classroom instruction and homework assignments.”

via Diane Ravitch’s blog

Mark Neal, superintendent of the Tri-Valley Local Schools in Ohio, wrote a sharply worded statement about parents’ right to opt their child out of testing.


When parents asked if they had the right to opt out, he responded with this advice:


While I am not (and never have been) an advocate of the PARCC Testing, Ohio got into this testing debacle with little to no input from local school officials. Therefore, I feel no responsibility to stick my neck out for the Department of Education by defending their decisions. What’s happening now, in my opinion, is that parents have figured out what is being forced upon their children, and the proverbial rubber… is beginning to meet the road. However, it is not our goal to discourage nor undermine the laws of our governing body.


Therefore, our position as a school district is that we do not discourage nor encourage a parent’s decision to opt out their child. We must respect parental rights at all costs. This is the very reason I advocate for local control. Our own Tri-Valley Board of Education is in a much better position to make sound decisions for the families of our school district, than are the bureaucrats in Columbus and Washington. I say that with no disrespect toward our own legislators, whom have worked diligently behind the scenes to address the over-testing issue. The unfortunate reality is that the parents who have contacted the school district up to this point, are the parents of high achieving students who undoubtedly would do well on these assessments. We will effectively be rating school districts and individual teachers based on test scores that do not include many of their highest achieving students….


I am quite confident that reason will ultimately prevail. In the meantime, we will respect the rights of our parents to make the best decisions for their children while simultaneously following the laws and policies of the Ohio Department of Education.


For defending common sense and speaking plainly to his community, I place Mark Neal on the honor roll of the blog as a champion of American public education.

via Diane Ravitch’s blog

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reviewed the performance of the state’s charter schools and concluded that most were not meeting their academic targets and not closing achievement gaps.


Minnesota was the home of the charter movement, which began with high expectations as a progressive experiment but has turned into a favorite mechanism in many states to promote privatization of public education and to generate profits for charter corporations like Imagine, Charter Schools USA, and K12. Today, charter advocates claim that their privately managed charters will “save low-income students from failing public schools,” but the Minnesota experience suggests that charters face the same challenges as public schools, which is magnified by high teacher turnover in charter schools.



The Star-Tribune article by reporter Kim McGuire begins:



Students in most Minnesota charter schools are failing to hit learning targets and are not achieving adequate academic growth, according to a Star Tribune analysis of school performance data.

The analysis of 128 of the state’s 157 charter schools show that the gulf between the academic success of its white and minority students widened at nearly two-thirds of those schools last year. Slightly more than half of charter schools students were proficient in reading, dramatically worse than traditional public schools, where 72 percent were proficient.


Between 2011 and 2014, 20 charter schools failed every year to meet the state’s expectations for academic growth each year, signaling that some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable students had stagnated academically.

A top official with the Minnesota Department of Education says she is troubled by the data, which runs counter to “the public narrative” that charter schools are generally superior to public schools.


“We hear, as we should, about the highfliers and the schools that are beating the odds, but I think we need to pay even more attention to the schools that are persistently failing to meet expectations,” said Charlene Briner, the Minnesota Department of Education’s chief of staff. Charter school advocates strongly defend their performance. They say the vast majority of schools that aren’t showing enough improvement serve at-risk populations, students who are poor, homeless, with limited English proficiency, or are in danger of dropping out.

“Our students, they’re coming from different environments, both home and school, where they’ve never had the chance to be successful,” said April Harrison, executive director of LoveWorks Academy, a Minneapolis charter school that has the state’s lowest rating. “No one has ever taken the time to say, ‘What’s going on with you? How can I help you?’ That’s what we do.”


Minnesota is the birthplace of the charter school movement and a handful of schools have received national acclaim for their accomplishments, particularly when it comes to making strong academic gains with low-income students of color. But the new information is fueling critics who say the charter school experiment has failed to deliver on teaching innovation.

“Schools promised they were going to help turn around things for these very challenging student populations,” said Kyle Serrette, director of education for the New York City-based Center for Popular Democracy. “Now, here we are 20 years later and they’re realizing that they have the same troubles of public schools systems.”

More than half of schools analyzed from 2011 to 2014 were also failing to meet the department’s expectations for academic growth, the gains made from year to year in reading and math.

via Diane Ravitch’s blog

Los Angeles Parents Succeed in Getting Their Middle School Expanded to New High School

Parents at the Julian Nava Academy in South Los Angeles loved their middle school. They worried about their children moving on to a high school where they might get less attention, where the education would not be as good as it had been at Nava Academy. So the parents organized, met with the principal, met with the district administrator, and won permission to open a new high school, called Nava College Preparatory Academy.


The school opened this fall, and the parents remain engaged with it. Its first class has 300 students, and it will eventually grow to 1100 students. Note there was no parent trigger, no confrontation between parents and educators. The parents loved the school they had, they wanted more of it, they made their case, and they won.

via Diane Ravitch’s blog

North Carolina May Allow Virtual Charters to Open

Previously, the North Carolina state board of education rejected online virtual schools, which are eager to open up the “market” in that state. Now that the board is business-friendly, it appears that it may allow both K12, Inc. (launched by the Milken brothers and listed on the New York Stock Exchange) and Connections Education (owned by Pearson) to open. The issue will be decided at the next board meeting. 


These corporations receive full tuition, while giving students a “free” computer and instructional materials. Their parents are their coaches. It is a profitable business since the “school” has no facilities, no custodians, no playgrounds, etc. Online teachers monitor large numbers of screens and are low-paid. Essentially, the state is paying for home schooling. Online virtual charters typically have high attrition rates, low test scores, and low graduation rates.

via Diane Ravitch’s blog

The weekly report on testing from Bob Schaeffer of Fairtest:

FairTest provides these weekly summaries of news clips and other resources as a tool to build the national assessment reform movement. We encourage parents, educators, students, administrators, community organizers, researchers and other allies to draw on the positive initiatives described in these links as models for their own local campaigns.

If you have similar materials to share, please send them to us for possible inclusion in future editions.

Some States Rush to Tie Common Core Tests to Graduation

California Rethinks How to Report Test Scores

Colorado Legislators Express Bipartisan Skepticism About Testing at Pre-Session Hearing

Connecticut Working to De-emphasize Testing in School Accountability

Florida School Boards Association Takes a Stand Against Over Testing

Text of Florida School Boards Resolution

Opposition Grows to Illinois’ Use of PARCC Common Core Test

Louisiana Political Struggle Over PARRC Testing Continues

How Massachusetts Teachers Defeated a Test-Based Evaluation Plan

New Jersey Parents, Teachers Talk About Opting Out of PARCC Test

Mom Dares New Jersey Gov. Christie to Defend Common Core Exam After Taking It

Judging New York’s Education Chancellor By Her Own “Standards”

Ohio’s Harmful Obsession with School Testing

PTA in Oklahoma Calls for End to High-Stakes Testing

Oklahoma PTA Resolutions on Testing

Dallas, Texas, School Board Responds to Parents Call for Less Focus on Testing

What Might a Republican Rewrite of “No Child Left Behind” Look Like?

Duncan’s Hammer: Test Scores

National Secondary School Principals Group Criticizes Value-Added Measurement

First Step to Close Test Score Gap: Reduce Poverty and Segregation

To Fix School Problems: Listen to Experienced Education Experts

Standardized Testing a False Solution to Attacking Educational Racism

Beware of Another Standardized Test: This One on Civics

Corruption and Cheating Increase with Imposition of School “Accountability” Schemes Says Finnish Expert

The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — forthcoming book available for pre-order now

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director

FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing

office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779

mobile- (239) 699-0468


via Diane Ravitch’s blog