California Attorney General Kamala Harris reached a settlement of $168.6 million with mega-virtual charter K12 Inc. This settlement reflects the good investigative reporting of Jessica Calefati of the San Jose Mercury News, whose investigative reporting led to Harris’ review of K12’s finances and practices.

There are two more investigations underway: one by the California State Department of Education and the other by the State Controller. Now that virtual charters have been discredited by studies and thrown under the bus by the rest of the charter industry, this aspect of the industry may finally be on the skids.

“California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Friday the state Department of Justice has reached a $168.5 million settlement with for-profit online charter school operator K12 Inc. over an array of alleged violations of false claims, false advertising and unfair competition laws.

“The settlement comes almost three months after the Bay Area News Group published a two-part investigative series on the publicly-traded Virginia company, which runs a network of profitable but low-performing online charter schools serving about 15,000 students across the state.

“Harris’ office found that K12 and the “virtual” academies it operates across the state used deceptive advertising to mislead parents about students’ academic progress, parent satisfaction and their graduates’ eligibility for University of California and California State University admission.

“The Attorney General’s office also found that K12 and its affiliated schools collected more state funding from the California Department of Education than they were entitled to by submitting inflated student attendance data and that the company improperly coerced the non-profit schools it operates to sign unfavorable contracts that put them in a deep financial hole.”

Politico reports that K12 Inc. disagrees with the characterization of the settlement:

– Speaking of charter schools, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Friday that virtual charter school operator K12 Inc. will pay $168.5 million to settle [ http://politico.pro/29NP6eM] alleged violations of the state’s false claims, false advertising and unfair competition laws: http://politico.pro/29nJ0Nj . But K12 pushed back on the settlement amount – preferring not to include $160 million in financial relief that Harris’ office says will be provided to certain schools that K12 manages. Instead, K12 CEO Stuart Udell said the company will only pay $2.5 million to settle the case, and another $6 million for Harris’ investigative costs. Udell said his company admitted no wrongdoing. “The Attorney General’s claim of $168.5 million in today’s announcement is flat wrong,” Udell said. “Despite our full cooperation throughout the process, the Office of the Attorney General grossly mischaracterized the value of the settlement, just as it did with regard to the issues it investigated.”

– The settlement is another black eye for the virtual charter industry, which just last month had three reform-minded groups calling for it to be improved, or else problems such as low graduation rates will “overshadow the positive impacts this model currently has on some students.” [ http://politi.co/1tyKbnt] More from Kimberly Hefling: http://politico.pro/29ImzF8

via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/29sNUcE

2016 Building a Grad Nation Report

PROGRESS AND CHALLENGE IN RAISING HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES

Written annually by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, and released in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, this report examines the progress and challenges the nation faces in reaching the GradNation goal of a national on-time graduation rate of 90 percent by the Class of 2020.

Release Date: 

Introduction

Download the Full Report

Download the Executive Summary

Download the 2016 Data Brief

The nation has achieved an 82.3 percent high school graduation rate – a record high.

Graduation rates rose for all student subgroups, and the number of low-graduation-rate high schools and students enrolled in them dropped again, indicating that progress has had far-reaching benefits for all students.

This progress, however, has not come without its challenges.

First, this year the nation is slightly off pace to reach a 90 percent on-time graduation rate by 2020.

Second, at both the national and state levels, troubling graduation gaps remain between White students and their Black and Latino peers, low-income and non-low-income students, and students with and without disabilities.

Third, low-graduation-rate high schools – a key focus of the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act – pose a significant roadblock to the national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate for all students. While the number of low-graduation-rate high schools has declined considerably over the past decade, in some states they still predominate.

The 2016 Building a Grad Nation report is the first to analyze 2014 graduation data using new criteria established by ESSA and the first to show the impact of additional time on graduation rates.

If all states were required to report five-year graduation rates, the national high school grad rate would go up about 3 percentage points. If all states were required to report six-year grad rates, the rate would go up an additional point.

The report provides a new national and state-by-state analysis of low-graduation-rate high schools; the number of additional students it will take for the country and each state to reach 90 per-cent; a look at the validity of graduation rates; and policy recommendations for change.

National & State Picture

After flat-lining for 30 years, high school graduation rates began to rise in 2002. This steady climb became more accelerated in 2006 and, in 2012, the nation reached an historic milestone, an 80 percent on-time graduation rate.

The upward trend continued through 2014, as the national graduation rate hit another record, 82.3 percent, up more than 10 percentage points since the turn of the century.

When the graduation rate hit 80 percent, we calculated that the national graduation rate would need to increase by roughly 1.2 percentage points per year to achieve 90 percent by the Class of 2020. Between 2013 and 2014, the nation missed this mark, and will now have to average closer to 1.3 percentage points per year to reach the goal.

Moving from percentages to raw numbers, meeting the 90 percent goal would mean graduating 284,591 more students.

To graduate students equitably across all subgroups means focusing on students of color, those with disabilities, English-language learners and students from low-income homes. Despite all the progress, these subgroups still graduate at lower rates than other students.

For more information on subgroup graduation rates, go to the 2016 Building a Grad Nation Data Brief.

At the state level:

  • Iowa became the first state to surpass 90 percent, with a 90.5 percent rate in 2014.
  • 20 other states are on pace to reach a 90 percent graduation rate.
  • Five on-pace states – Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas and Wisconsin – are within 2 percentage points of the goal.
  • 21 states are currently off track to reach 90 percent by the Class of 2020.

Low-Grad-Rate Schools

The number of low-graduation-rate schools – defined by ESSA as those enrolling 100 or more students and graduating 67 percent or less of them – has declined considerably, but in some states they still predominate. (Note: Previous reports have focused on high schools with at least 300 students. This calculation, made to align with ESSA, allows a closer look at more rural, charter, alternative and virtual schools.)

  • There are 1,000 large, low-graduation-rate high schools (more than 300 students) nationwide, enrolling 924,000 students, compared to 2,000 in 2002, enrolling 2.6 million students.
  • Vulnerable students are overrepresented in low-graduation-rate high schools. Of the roughly 924,000 in large low-graduation-rate high schools, 65 percent were from low-income families, and 63 percent were Black or Hispanic/Latino.
  • When including high schools with student populations of at least 100 students, there are 2,397 graduation-rate high schools across the nation, enrolling 1.23 million students.
  • Nationwide, 33 percent of all non-graduates in 2014 were enrolled in low-graduation-rate high schools.
  • Though alternative, charter, and virtual schools collectively account for 14 percent of high schools and 8 percent of high school students, they make up 52 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools nationwide and produce 20 percent of non-graduates. Regular district high schools account for 41 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools and are where the majority of students who do not graduate on time can be found.
  • Low-graduation-rate high schools by school types. Out of all low-grad-rate schools in the nation, 41 percent are regular district schools, 28 percent are alternative schools, 26 percent are charter schools and 7 percent are virtual schools.
    (According to NCES definitions, there is inherent overlap between the alternative, charter, and virtual schools categories, so these numbers do not add up to 100 percent. When looking just at district-operated alternative schools, they make up 23 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools, and when separating virtual schools out from charter schools, the percentage of low-graduation-rate schools that are charter schools falls to 22 percent.)
  • Regular district schools (84% of all high schools). Seven percent (7%) of regular district public schools, or roughly 1,000 schools nationwide, were low-graduation rate high schools. Regular district high schools had an average graduation rate of 85 percent. The number of low-graduation-rate regular district high schools across states ranges from zero in Delaware, Hawaii, and Kentucky to more than 276 in New York and 203 in Florida.
  • Charter schools (8% of all high schools). Now authorized in all but seven states, the of charter schools is rising with mixed results on graduation rates. Thirty percent (30%) of charter schools were low-graduation-rate high schools, while 44 percent had high graduation rates of 85 percent and above. Nationwide, charter schools reported an average graduation rate of 70 percent. Hawaii, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio and California have the highest percentages of low-graduation-rate charter high schools.
  • Alternative schools (6% of all high schools). Established to meet the needs of “at risk” students, 57 percent of alternative schools are low-graduation-rate high schools. They have an average graduation rate of 52 percent. Sixty percent (60%) of students at alternative high schools are students of color. In 10 states, including Kentucky, Texas, Washington, Idaho and Iowa, 50 percent or more of low-graduation-rate high schools were alternative schools in 2014. Other states have experienced greater success with alternative schools.
  • Virtual schools (1% of all high schools). Schools offering all instruction online have greatly increased in recent years. Virtual schools were disaggregated in NCES data for the first time in 2013-14. The data shows that 87 percent of virtual schools are low-grad-rate schools with an average graduation rate of 40 percent. States with the highest percentage of non-graduates coming from virtual schools include Ohio, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

Validity of Grad Rates

Rising high school graduation rates have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, as more people question whether the gains are real, whether high school diplomas are a meaningful measure of achievement, and whether high school graduates are adequately prepared for college and careers.

  • The most rapid rise in graduation rates occurred from 2006 to 2014, during an era when states were increasing graduation requirements, including exit and end-of course exams. Thus, graduation rates rose even as it was getting harder to graduate.
  • If standards were being lowered, one would expect ACT and SAT scores to decrease, but scores (and the percentage of SAT-takers who meet the College Board’s College and Career Readiness Standards) remain flat.
  • There is evidence that more students are participating in rigorous coursework. Since 2004, the total number of graduates taking an AP course has risen from 558,993 in 2004 to over 1 million in 2013. The number of students passing at least one AP course has risen in tandem, from 351,647 to 607,505 in 2013.
  • We will have a more comprehensive look at the relationship between high school and college and career readiness in a forthcoming report.

Policy Recommendations

To move the needle to 90 percent by the Class of 2020 and help ensure accuracy in graduation rate reporting, the report includes recommendations, including:

  • Set clear definitions and give graduation rates the weight they deserve in ESSA so that schools and districts are held accountable for graduating traditionally underserved students.
  • Clear up issues of clarity and variability in graduation rate collection and reporting regulations to allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.
  • Create evidence-based plans to improve low-graduation-rate high schools.
  • Require the reporting of extended-year graduation rates. Some students require an additional year or two of high school to earn a diploma. Today 31 states report five-year rates for the Class of 2014. These additional graduates move the national graduation rate from 82.3 percent to greater than 86 percent. And six-year rates, reported in 13 stats, add another percentage point.
  • Ensure that alternative and virtual schools are included in state accountability and improvement systems.
  • Provide real pathways to engage students who have fallen off track. Students who have fallen off track to graduation need the things that all students need to be successful: positive relationships with caring adults, strong and tailored instruction, opportunities to engage in learning experiences that connect school to careers and life beyond, and the support and resources to help them figure out what they want to do once they have earned their diploma. These should be at the core of any school or program, particularly those serving vulnerable student populations.

2016 Data Brief

Released in January, the 2016 Building a Grad Nation Data Brief focused on 2013-14 national and state graduation rate data released by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The brief provides information on graduation gaps at the national and state level for students from low-income families, Black and Hispanic/Latino students, English-language learners and students with disabilities.

The brief also provides State Progress Reports.

Sponsors

Lead Sponsor:

Supporting Sponsors:

About GradNation

The GradNation campaign – led by America’s Promise Alliance, the Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University – mobilizes individuals and organizations to raise the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by the Class of 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time. GradNation also aims for dramatic increases in postsecondary enrollment and graduation.

K12 has a well-established record as a highly profitable virtual charter school chain with low graduation rates, high turnover, and low test scores. The NCAA removed accreditation from a dozen K12 schools because of poor academics. So why is there a K12 in California?


 


Here is a report from Donald Cohen of “In the Public Interest”:


 


It says:


 


In every year since it began graduating students, except 2013, CAVA has had more dropouts than graduates. Its academic growth was negative for most of its history and it did not keep up with other demographically similar schools after 2005. Its Academic Performance Index scores consistently ranked poorly against oth- er demographically similar schools and the state as a whole….


 


Each CAVA location currently re- ceives full, per-pupil public education funding.18 Students attend school from home computers. The majority of the teachers we interviewed reported that their students are eligible to be counted as having attended with as little as one minute of log in time each day.


 


CAVA had an average graduation rate of 36%, compared to the state graduation rate for the same period of 78%.


 


Donald Cohen wrote the following in his newsletter about CAVA:


 


 


You’re receiving our newsletter a little later than usual this week. That’s because today I’m in California’s capitol to speak about ITPI’s extensive research into the largest provider of online K-12 education in California known as CAVA (California Virtual Academies) and I want to share our findings with you, too. Funded by taxpayers with public education dollars, CAVA enrolls 14,497 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at 11 virtual schools. The schools are managed by a subsidiary of K12 Inc., a publicly traded education company that produced $55 million in profits last year.


 


Our report shows that students at CAVA are at risk of low-quality educational outcomes, and some are falling through the cracks entirely, in a poorly resourced and troubled educational environment. The numbers show lower graduation rates and higher dropout rates, as well as lower academic performance and rankings, than in traditional schools in the state with similar demographics. Teachers we interviewed reported technological problems, limited availability of textbooks, and an environment that makes it difficult for students to thrive. The books show that in 2011-2012, the average CAVA teacher salary was close to half of average teacher pay in the state while K12 Inc. paid almost $11 million total to its top six executives.


 


CAVA’s problems in California are not isolated incidents. K12 Inc. managed schools have a track record of poor outcomes, including struggling academic performance and low graduation rates, in multiple states including Illinois, Colorado and Pennsylvania. K12’s reputation and CAVA’s extensive issues add up to a case study on the need for better oversight to ensure children are receiving a quality education.


 


It’s too easy for kids to fall through the cracks in CAVA’s current online schooling system so we are calling on California to immediately increase oversight of online education. Despite the state having passed some of the most forward-thinking regulations around virtual learning, leaders in Sacramento must revisit what the state can do to ensure quality education for students no matter what kind of institution they are enrolled in. It is their responsibility to ensure the state is spending public education dollars efficiently and wisely.


Thanks,


 


Donald Cohen

Executive Director

In The Public Interest
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog » K12 Inc. http://ift.tt/1x4fp0x

K12 has a well-established record as a highly profitable virtual charter school chain with low graduation rates, high turnover, and low test scores. The NCAA removed accreditation from a dozen K12 schools because of poor academics. So why is there a K12 in California?


 


Here is a report from Donald Cohen of “In the Public Interest”:


 


It says:


 


In every year since it began graduating students, except 2013, CAVA has had more dropouts than graduates. Its academic growth was negative for most of its history and it did not keep up with other demographically similar schools after 2005. Its Academic Performance Index scores consistently ranked poorly against oth- er demographically similar schools and the state as a whole….


 


Each CAVA location currently re- ceives full, per-pupil public education funding.18 Students attend school from home computers. The majority of the teachers we interviewed reported that their students are eligible to be counted as having attended with as little as one minute of log in time each day.


 


CAVA had an average graduation rate of 36%, compared to the state graduation rate for the same period of 78%.


 


Donald Cohen wrote the following in his newsletter about CAVA:


 


 


You’re receiving our newsletter a little later than usual this week. That’s because today I’m in California’s capitol to speak about ITPI’s extensive research into the largest provider of online K-12 education in California known as CAVA (California Virtual Academies) and I want to share our findings with you, too. Funded by taxpayers with public education dollars, CAVA enrolls 14,497 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at 11 virtual schools. The schools are managed by a subsidiary of K12 Inc., a publicly traded education company that produced $55 million in profits last year.


 


Our report shows that students at CAVA are at risk of low-quality educational outcomes, and some are falling through the cracks entirely, in a poorly resourced and troubled educational environment. The numbers show lower graduation rates and higher dropout rates, as well as lower academic performance and rankings, than in traditional schools in the state with similar demographics. Teachers we interviewed reported technological problems, limited availability of textbooks, and an environment that makes it difficult for students to thrive. The books show that in 2011-2012, the average CAVA teacher salary was close to half of average teacher pay in the state while K12 Inc. paid almost $11 million total to its top six executives.


 


CAVA’s problems in California are not isolated incidents. K12 Inc. managed schools have a track record of poor outcomes, including struggling academic performance and low graduation rates, in multiple states including Illinois, Colorado and Pennsylvania. K12’s reputation and CAVA’s extensive issues add up to a case study on the need for better oversight to ensure children are receiving a quality education.


 


It’s too easy for kids to fall through the cracks in CAVA’s current online schooling system so we are calling on California to immediately increase oversight of online education. Despite the state having passed some of the most forward-thinking regulations around virtual learning, leaders in Sacramento must revisit what the state can do to ensure quality education for students no matter what kind of institution they are enrolled in. It is their responsibility to ensure the state is spending public education dollars efficiently and wisely.


Thanks,


 


Donald Cohen

Executive Director

In The Public Interest
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1x4fp0x

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 http://ift.tt/13fJEsv

Virtual School in Tennessee Strikes Out | Diane Ravitch’s blog

Virtual School in Tennessee Strikes Out

The Tennessee Virtual Academy is one of those online for-profit charter schools that are supposed to “save” American education. Bad news for its champions: The scores at the school were in the state’s bottom 11 percent[1]. The sponsors say forget the scores and wait until next year. Right.

Jeb Bush promotes virtual schools from one end of the country to the other. His Foundation for Excellence in Education is funded by numerous tech corporations. He and Bob Wise of the Alliance for Excellent Education published guidelines called the “Ten Elements of Digital Education” urging states to take the plunge and authorize online schools with little or no regulation.[2] Preferably no regulation at all, since regulations are seen as a hindrance to innovation. Teachers need not be certified, and the corporation need not even have an office in the state where it does business. Just hoops and hurdles that hobble true reform.

The push for virtual education takes two forms, both promoted heavily by the corporations that stand to profit[3]: one, virtual charter schools; two, requiring that every high school student take at least one course online.

So far, there is not a scintilla of evidence that virtual instruction is good education, at least not in the way it is being sold by its advocates. Test scores are low; graduation rates are low; attrition is high. And why in the world should children in grades K-8 be isolated from any peer interactions during their formative years?

More and more evidence is emerging about the importance of non-cognitive skills, such as the ability to communicate with others and work with others. Can that be learned in isolation?

NCAA Will No Longer Accept Credits Awarded by 24 K12 Virtual Charter Schools

The NCAA announced that it will no longer accept credits awarded by 24 virtual charter schools, all of which are operated by Michael Milken’s corporation K12.


 


This is huge.


 


All of these virtual schools are highly profitable. The K12 corporation, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, receives full tuition for each student; the district loses the tuition, and the student gets a computer and textbooks. K12 is known to have a high dropout rate and low graduation rates.


 


This is the first time that a major accrediting body has rejected the education offered by K12 and declared that its credits were unacceptable.


 


Here is the announcement:


 


 


NCAA No Longer Accepting Coursework from 24 High Schools


Today the NCAA announced that 24 schools which use a company called K12 Inc. to provide their curriculum were no longer approved. All of the schools are nontraditional high schools, and their courses were found to not comply with the NCAA’s nontraditional course requirements. The schools are:


 


California Virtual Academy – San Joaquin

California Virtual Academy – San Diego

California Virtual Academy – Los Angeles

California Virtual Academy – Sutter

California Virtual Academy – Jamestown

California Virtual Academy – Kern

California Virtual Academy – San Mateo

California Virtual Academy – Kings

California Virtual Academy – Sonoma

San Francisco Flex Academy (CA)

Silicon Valley Flex Academy (Morgan Hill, CA)

California Virtual Academy – LA High

California Virtual Academy – Santa Ysabel

Colorado Virtual Academy Cova (North Glenn, CO)

Georgia Cyber Academy (Atlanta, GA)

Nevada Virtual Academy (Las Vegas, NV)

Ohio Virtual Academy (Maumee, OH)

Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy (Nicoma Park, OK)

Agora Cyber Charter School (Wayne, PA)

South Carolina Virtual Charter (Columbia, SC)

Washington Virtual Academy – Monroe (Tacoma, WA)

Insight School of Colorado (Westminster, CO)

Insight School of Washington (Tacoma, WA)

IQ Academy Washington (Vancouver, WA)


 

As a result, the NCAA will stop accepting coursework from these schools starting with the 2014–15 school year. Coursework completed from Spring 2013 through Spring 2014 will undergo additional evaluation on a case-by-case basis when a prospect tries to use it for initial eligibility purposes. Coursework completed in Fall 2012 or earlier may be used without additional evaluation.


In addition to the 24 schools above, other schools affiliated with K12 Inc. remain under Extended Evaluation. This means the NCAA will continue to review coursework coming from those schools to see whether it meets the NCAA’s core course and nontraditional course requirements. Prospects with coursework from those schools must submit additional documentation no matter when the coursework was completed.
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1hbRFTo