Charter school organizations take stand against virtual schools

Dive Brief:

  • The National Alliance for Public Charter schools, the 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers released a call to action Thursday to hold full-time virtual charter schools accountable for student performance.
  • The joint report highlights research showing that students who attend these schools perform worse than their traditional public school counterparts on virtually every metric and across all subgroups, and it calls on charter school authorizers to make renewal and closure decisions based on progress toward rigorous performance goals.
  • The report also encourages statewide enrollment caps at virtual charter schools, enrollment criteria so only students who would be best-served by virtual schools get in, and funding levels based on performance and real costs of operating such schools.

Dive Insight:

One complaint of the rise of virtual charter schools has been the lack of cost-savings for traditional districts that have to funnel a portion of their funding to the charters. Virtual schools, with no brick-and-mortar maintenance or transportation costs, and higher student-to-teacher ratios should be expected to operate with lower per-student funding than traditional schools. Critics have accused major players in the virtual charter school space, like K12 Inc., of operating with too-high profits. The CEO of the massive virtual school earned more than $5.3 million in total compensation in 2015, according to SEC filings.

Virtual charter schools defend their student performance by saying they attract students traditional schools have failed, arguing they serve cohorts who come to them already behind. More rigorous performance standards would have to take student demographics into account when setting expectations.

Recommended Reading

U.S. News & World Report:
Charter Groups Call Out Virtual Schools

Michael Stratford:
Revamping virtual charter schools

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California Attorney General probe leads to $168.5 million settlement with for-profit online school operator

By Jessica Calefati, jcalefati@bayareanewsgroup.com

Posted:
 
07/08/2016 11:54:50 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO — Facing a torrent of accusations, a for-profit company that operates taxpayer-funded online charter schools throughout California has reached a $168.5 million settlement with the state over claims it manipulated attendance records and overstated its students’ success.

The deal, announced Friday by Attorney General Kamala Harris, comes almost three months after the Bay Area News Group published an investigation of K12 Inc., a publicly traded Virginia company, which raked in more than $310 million in state funding over the past 12 years operating a profitable but low-performing network of “virtual” schools for about 15,000 students.

File photo: California Virtual Academies student Lillian Lewis, 11, studies online before her gymnastics practice on Nov. 11, 2015, at her Pleasanton home. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group archives)

“Knowing that something will be done to address the schools’ problems is very reassuring,” said Gabriela Novak, who pulled her daughter Elizabeth from K12’s San Mateo County school after a year of frustrations and difficulty communicating with her teachers. “Finally, the system is working.”

Harris’ office found that K12 and the 14 California Virtual Academies used deceptive advertising to mislead families about students’ academic progress, parents’ satisfaction with the program and their graduates’ eligibility for University of California and California State University admission — issues that were exposed in this news organization’s April report.

The settlement could help spur legislation that would prevent for-profit companies like K12 from operating public schools in California.

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 leaned on the nonprofit schools to sign unfavorable contracts that put them in a deep financial hole.

“K12 and its schools misled parents and the State of California by claiming taxpayer dollars for questionable student attendance, misstating student success and parent satisfaction and loading nonprofit charities with debt,” Harris said in a statement. “This settlement ensures K12 and its schools are held accountable and make much-needed improvements.”

The California Teachers Association and the California Charter Schools Association both applauded Harris’ announcement and denounced the company’s practices — even though the two special-interest groups are frequently foes.

But in a news release Friday, K12 stressed that it had admitted no wrongdoing and insisted it had already planned to take up several of the 60 corrective actions required under the agreement over the next few years. It also disputed the attorney general’s description of the size of the settlement, calling it “flat wrong.”

“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,” K12 Chief Executive Officer Stuart Udell said in the statement.

Under the settlement, which is subject to court approval, K12 will pay $8.5 million to settle the state’s claims.

It also agreed to “expunge” about $160 million in credits it has issued to the California Virtual Academies since 2005 that have helped the schools cover the cost of the contracts they hold with the company, whose rates routinely exceed what the schools can afford.

But Udell said that the credits should be called “subsidies,” not debts, and that the company’s commitment to expunge them shouldn’t be used by Harris to hike the size of the settlement. He also defended the credits, saying they had protected the schools against financial uncertainties.

“(The) schools have not paid that money to K12 and K12 never expected to receive it given California’s funding environment,” Udell said.

This news organization’s investigation into K12’s California schools revealed the company reaps tens of millions of dollars annually in state funding while graduating fewer than half of its high school students. It also showed that kids who spend as little as one minute during a school day logged onto K12’s software may have been counted as “present” in records used to calculate the amount of funding the schools get from the state.

The revelations show why California needs tighter rules for online charter schools, said Bruce Fuller, an education policy professor at UC Berkeley.

“Virtual charter schools’ profit-seeking too often leads to deception about their true effectiveness,” Fuller said. “The Legislature should move aggressively to prevent such harm to students and taxpayers.”

The settlement requires K12 to take a slew of corrective actions.

The company must: ensure the accuracy of its advertisements, train teachers to prevent improper attendance claims and reform the way K12 contracts with the California Virtual Academies.

K12 must also eliminate any type of incentive compensation for its enrollment staff, provide all students functional computers and give families a subsidy of at least $20 per month to cover the cost of high-speed internet service.

Emily Bertelli, a spokeswoman for the California Charter Schools Association, called the settlement “a good start,” but said the Legislature must change the law to prevent such abusive practices from happening again.

When lawmakers return to work in August after a monthlong summer recess, they’ll consider Assembly Bill 1084, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, which would ban online charter schools from hiring for-profit companies for instructional services.

Bertelli’s group has offered amendments that it believes will strengthen that proposed legislation.

“We are hopeful that the Legislature doesn’t miss an opportunity at this critical juncture to do right by students,” Bertelli said in a statement.

Contact Jessica Calefati at 916-441-2101. Follow her at Twitter.com/Calefati.

Virtual charter schools in Broward, Palm Beach could close following audits

Broward committee recommends closing virtual charter school

A pair of virtual charter schools in Palm Beach and Broward counties may soon shut down, following complaints of poor student performance, allegations of ethical breaches and hostility between the schools’ governing board and management company

An audit committee for Broward County schools recommended Thursday that the district terminate its contract with Florida Virtual Academy at Broward, which has been operating for three years.

The school’s governing board, the South Florida Virtual Charter School Board, also oversees Florida Virtual Academy at Palm Beach, which has been under review since Octoberby the Palm Beach County School District’s Inspector General. Together they serve about 350 students.

The charter schools are not affiliated with Florida Virtual School, the longtime state-run online education program.

“Our intent is to move forward with the recommendations and come to some kind of closure process, either voluntary or otherwise,” Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

And indeed, the schools in both counties may close voluntarily, said Philip Morgaman, president and CEO of the South Florida Charter School Board.

“Voluntary dissolution is a viable alternative, and it’s certainly one of the alternatives our board will consider, and it may very well be the most likely,” he said.

Morgaman said he wants to receive the Palm Beach County audit before holding a special board meeting. He said that would likely happen at the end of the school year, so students wouldn’t be displaced mid-term.

The Broward auditfound numerous academic deficiencies at the school. It said the school failed to provide evidence that students were receiving the required instructional time for reading, failed to provide a “clear and comprehensive grading system,” and failed to show it was following state law in regard to serving students with disabilities and limited English skills. The state is also penalizing the school by $200,000 because too many students failed their end-of-course exams.

Both schools received grades of D in 2013-14. The state hasn’t released grades for the 2014-15 school year.

Jeff Kwitowski, a spokesman for management company K12 Inc., which oversaw the school’s academics, declined to comment on the Broward audit or the possibility that the two schools may get shut down. The company also runs online charter schools in six other counties in the state, but they would not be affected by the actions of the South Florida board, Kwitowski said.

Problems involving the two schools came to light in October after K12 Inc. sent a letter to the Broward and Palm Beach counties’ superintendents accusing Morgaman of violating Florida’s ethics laws.

At issue were a $60,000 check written from the schools’ account to the United Schools Association, a Deerfield Beach-based nonprofit for which Morgaman serves as chairman and CEO, and a $40,000 check paid to Dane G. Taylor, the nonprofit’s chief administrative officer.

The letter prompted investigations from both counties. The Palm Beach County School District’s inspector general is still reviewing it but Broward County auditors agreed the board’s actions violated state statutes.

Morgaman said the United Schools Association served as the pass-through for the $60,000, and that the money actually went to other vendors. He said the board was trying to find consultants to help improve the schools, whose students have performed poorly.

He said the company agreed to repay the $60,000to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest.

Morgaman said Taylor’s employment with the charter school board was independent of his work with the nonprofit association. Taylor’s work has included radio spots and other aspects of an advertising campaign, communicating with K12 and doing research.

The auditors found the money was paid to Taylor before he provided services, a violation of state rules.

stravis@sunsentinel.com or 561-243-6637 or 954-425-1421

Virtual charter schools get go-ahead from NC education board | The Progressive Pulse

Virtual charter schools get go-ahead from NC education board

Thursday, February 5, 2015 InNews

http://thetruthaboutk12.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/09/As expected, the State Board of Education gave its blessing Thursday to two virtual charter schools applying for a new pilot program set up by the state legislature.

The new public schools will allow students to take their entire course loads remotely, and stand to send millions in public education dollars to two companies that will manage the daily operations of the virtual schools.

N.C. Policy Watch has been covering the push by K12, Inc., the company behind the N.C. Virtual Academy, since 2011 to open a virtual charter school in North Carolina. The company has been criticized in other states for its aggressive lobbying of public officials to open schools, as well as low academic results from many of the public schools it manages.

On Thursday, the state board also decided to drop a requirement that would have required schools to provide or pay for learning coaches for students whose parents can’t serve in that role.

Here’s more from my article earlier today:

Get ready to add “attend third-grade” to the growing list of things you can do over the Internet in North Carolina, after ordering pizzas and watching cat videos.

The State Board of Education, which oversees public education in the state, is expected to approve two charter schools today that will teach children from their home computers in schools run by Wall Street-traded companies.

Daily monitoring would be in the hands of “learning coaches,” a role that’s been filled by parents, guardians and athletic coaches in the more than 30 other states that offer publicly-funded virtual schooling options.

Today’s anticipated vote of approval (click here to listen to an audio stream of today’s meeting) will be a significant change of the state board, which fought an attempt in the courts from the N.C. Virtual Academy to open up a virtual school three years ago.

If approved, the N.C. Virtual Academy (to be run by K12, Inc., NYSE:LRN) and N.C. Connections Academy (to be run by Connections Academy, owned by education giant Pearson, NYSE:PSO) will be able to enroll up to 1,500 students each from across the state, and send millions in public education dollars to schools run by private education companies.

You can read the entire piece here.

Ready or not, virtual charter schools on verge of powering up in North Carolina – Jefferson Post

Ready or not, virtual charter schools on verge of powering up in North Carolina

Last updated: February 11. 2015 7:00AM –


Get ready to add “attend third-grade” to the growing list of things you can do over the Internet in North Carolina, after ordering pizzas and watching cat videos.

The State Board of Education, which oversees public education in the state, is expected to approve two charter schools today that will teach children from their home computers in schools run by Wall Street-traded companies.

(Update: The two virtual charter schools were approved Thursday.)

Daily monitoring would be in the hands of “learning coaches,” a role that’s been filled by parents, guardians and athletic coaches in the more than 30 other states that offer publicly-funded virtual schooling options.

Today’s anticipated vote of approval (click here to listen to an audio stream of today’s meeting) will be a significant change of the state board, which fought an attempt in the courts from the N.C. Virtual Academy to open up a virtual school three years ago.

If approved, the N.C. Virtual Academy (to be run by K12, Inc., NYSE:LRN) and N.C. Connections Academy (to be run by Connections Academy, owned by education giant Pearson, NYSE:PSO) will be able to enroll up to 1,500 students each from across the state, and send millions in public education dollars to schools run by private education companies.

North Carolina has experienced a rapid increase in charter schools since state lawmakers lifted a 100-school cap in 2011 on the publicly funded schools run by private non-profit boards of directors. There are now 147 tuition-free charter schools that operated in counties across the state.

But North Carolina, unlike many states, doesn’t have any full-time virtual charter schools. The state does run the North Carolina Virtual Public School, which offers individual classes to schoolchildren around the state.

Ensuring that students are learning

North Carolina’s education board is wrestling with what, if any, additional restrictions should be placed on the virtual schools that will be run by education management companies that have seen mixed results in other states.

A committee of state board members previously recommended the schools provide and pay for “learning coaches” if parents weren’t available to monitor students, and provide computers and Internet access to students living in low-income families. Both schools say they won’t have the resources to pay for learning coaches.

At-risk students with parents who work wouldn’t be able to attend the virtual schools otherwise, Evelyn Bulluck said during Wednesday’s discussion at the state board. Bulluck is a Nash County-Rocky Mount school board member who serves in an advisory role to the state board.

“That tells me that this school is not accessible for many children which means then that we’re excluding a segment of our student population,” Bulluck said. “North Carolina would not have established a law that excludes a whole segment of children.”

But other members stressed Republican lawmakers hadn’t envisioned those types of restrictions when they created a four-year pilot program for two virtual charter schools in last year’s budget bill.

“The responsibility should fall on the parents,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican supportive of expanding education choice options in the public school system. “It’s very problematic for us to get in the business in telling them they must provide a learning coach.”

The N.C. Virtual Academy hopes to serve students from kindergarten through 10th grade, while the NC Connections Academy aims to help children in the elementary and middle-school grades. In other states, the online-based schools have proven popular with families that prefer home-schooling, or students who contend with serious health problems, behavior problems, taxing extracurricular schedules or bullying.

Other states have experienced problems or expressed concerns about K12, Inc., the for-profit vendor behind the N.C. Virtual Academy. One Colorado school run by K12, Inc. had a graduation rate as low as 10 percent in 2010, Tennessee may shut down a K12, Inc.-run school following poor academic results and the NCAA has indicated it won’t accept classes for prospective student athletes from a number of K12, Inc.-run schools.

A 2012 report from the National Education Policy Center (which has been critical of the charter schools) found that students who attended virtual schools performed worse academically then their peers in other public schools.

The virtual schools will be funded at levels close to what brick-and-mortar charter schools receive, but with fewer local funds available to the online schools. The schools could receive up to $66 million a year by 2017, if enrollment reaches a combined 6,000 students by then, according to the Associated Press.

Investors watching North Carolina decision

North Carolina’s warming to virtual schools will be welcome news to investors, who have seen online charter schools in other states scale back their involvement with K12, Inc. as school leaders take over the management functions from the company.

Today’s decision by the state board was mentioned in a Jan. 29 earnings call K12, Inc. management had with investors.

“In North Carolina, we continue to support our independent not-for-profit partner, the NC Learns Board, as they were the policymakers in the State Board of Education on their application to open a statewide online public charter school for the upcoming year,” K12, Inc. CEO Nate Davis told investors, according to a transcript of the call. “If approved the school could enroll up to 1500 students in the upcoming school year and increase this to about 3000 students by the fourth year of operation.”

There’s not much wiggle for the state board in considering the applications, after the Republican-led legislature slipped a provision into last year’s budget bill mandated the creation of four-year pilot with two schools.

At least two Republican lawmakers contacted education board members this week to remind them of that.

“The language is unambiguous that the legislature intended for there to be exactly two virtual charter schools, no more, no less,” wrote state Rep. Jason Saine, a lawmaker from Lincolnton. “Moreover, it is equally unambiguous that the legislature intended for the virtual charter schools to cover all grades, kindergarten through twelfth grade.”

N.C. House Speaker Pro-Tem. Paul “Skip” Stam, a powerful Apex Republican and key supporter of school choice issues, sent a similar letter this week.

The law passed “requires that the school ensure that each student is assigned a learning coach,” Stam wrote. “It does not require the school to provide a learning coach.”

Forest, the state’s lieutenant governor, also said educational choice options are designed to offer solutions, and that means that the virtual schools may not work for everyone but can make differences in the lives of some students.

“Not every (educational) choice is going to be a good choice for every single child,” Forest said. “That’s why you do these things.”

Questions? Comments? Reporter Sarah Ovaska can be reached at (919) 861-1463 or sarah@ncpolicywatch.com.

Virtual schools could be coming – Robesonian – robesonian.com

Virtual schools could be coming

Last updated: December 24. 2014 9:58AM –

North Carolina schoolchildren may be attending classes on their home computers next year after a state education committee moved the applications of two proposed virtual charter schools forward.

The State Board of Education, which sets education policy in the state, will take up the applications of two virtual charter schools at their January meeting as part of a four-year pilot program created by the state legislature.

A special committee of N.C. Department of Public Instruction staff and charter school educators voted Wednesday to move the applications from two proposed virtual schools forward while also expressing concerns about how the online-based education system will serve students and taxpayers.

“We need to be very careful,” said Becky Taylor, a State Board of Education member who served on the special committee, during Wednesday’s discussion. “Who is going to suffer if it doesn’t go well?”

North Carolina has experienced a rapid increase in charter schools since state lawmakers lifted a 100-school cap in 2011 on the publicly funded schools run by private nonprofit boards of directors. There are now 148 tuition-free charter schools that operate in counties across the state.

But North Carolina, unlike many states, doesn’t have any full-time virtual charter schools. The state does run the North Carolina Virtual Public School, which offers individual classes to schoolchildren around the state.

North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature tucked a provision in this summer’s budget bill that created a four-year pilot program for two online-based charter schools to open by August 2015.

Paul Davis, a committee member who works with N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s testing department, questioned whether the online schools, with heavy involvement required from parents, would largely appeal to families already teaching their children outside public classrooms.

“Elementary virtual school sounds almost like publicly-funded home schooling,” Davis said.

The legislature opted to include younger students in the pilot despite prior recommendations from the State Board of Education to begin a pilot program with high school-aged children.

Nationally, the virtual education market is dominated by two companies, K12, Inc. and Connections Academy, a subsidiary of Pearson, an educational publishing company also traded on Wall Street.

If approved by the state, the N.C. Virtual Academy and N.C. Connections Academy each hope to enroll 1,500 students in the first year, for a total of 3,000 students.

Though final funding formulas have not been set, high enrollments of students could potentially divert millions in public education dollars to the virtual charter schools.

Of the two companies vying to open charter schools in North Carolina, K12 Inc. is the more controversial, and faced more questions at last week’s meeting. The State Board of Education blocked a 2012 bid to open a K12 Inc.-run school, leading to a lawsuit.

The company operates virtual public schools in 30 other states and has garnered national attention for what critics say is a model geared more toward profits from public revenue streams than providing quality educations.

Proponents says that many of the students who turn to online education had been struggling in traditional schools, one reason why test scores may be lower than those of traditional charter schools.

Mary Gifford, a K12 Inc. senior vice president, answered a question about issues the company has faced in other states by saying that no contracts have ended prematurely. At one Pennsylvania cyber school, which generates a large portion of K12’s revenue stream, the school board recently opted to stop using the company for day-to-day management of the virtual school.

State Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican , said he supported the pilot program and backed putting it in the budget bill this summer.

Horn also said he had gone on a visit with other lawmakers to visit K12’s headquarters in Herndon, Va. a few years ago while in Washington for a conference and was impressed with the company. Horn said he paid his own way, and could not recall what other lawmakers were with him on the trip nor when he went.

“It left an impression on me that the organization was professional,” he said.

K12’s spokesperson Jeff Kwitowski said the company did not pay for a North Carolina delegation to visit, and that groups often drop in to visit the company’s headquarters in northern Virginia while attending to other business in the nation’s capital.

The pilot program will show whether virtual charter schools should have a permanent spot in the state’s educational system, Horn said.

“It deserves a look,” he said.

Sarah Ovaska can be reached at (919) 861-1463 or sarah@ncpolicywatch.com.

Sarah Ovaska can be reached at (919) 861-1463 or sarah@ncpolicywatch.com.

NC Closer To Opening Its First-Ever Virtual Charter Schools

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The state is closer to opening two virtual charter schools. A special committee on Wednesday cleared two applications of proposed charter schools that would be operated by for-profit companies.

North Carolina Virtual Academy would be managed by K12 Inc., which has had student performance problems in other states, while N.C. Connections Academy would be affiliated with Connections Education.

Listen

Listening…

On Wednesday, the state committee took turns firing off questions to the two eager applicants.

There was the biggest and most obvious question:

What does a virtual charter school even look like?

Mary Gifford, a senior vice president for K12, said students would take most of their classwork online and on their own schedule. Younger grades would spend about half of their time with books and materials. In any case, all students are required to have a responsible adult around who can coach them.

“This is indeed a lifestyle choice, this is not for everyone,” she said.

Earlier this year, lawmakers mandated that the state approve two virtual charter school pilots to open next fall. During Wednesday’s interviews, education officials, like Paul Davis, remained cautious.

“Not too sound argumentative but elementary virtual school sounds almost like public-funded homeschooling,” he remarked.

Quality of education

And then there were bigger concerns about the quality of education they would provide.

Becky Taylor, a member of the state board of education, had a pointed question for K12.

“Can you tell me if you’ve been terminated by states?” she asked. “We hear rumors… And that’s concerning.”

Some virtual academics working with K12 have a history of low graduation rates and poor test scores. Tennessee’s online school will close next year if students don’t show dramatic gains. The company has also run into trouble in states like Florida, Colorado and New Mexico. But Gifford said no contracts have been terminated, some just haven’t been renewed.

Over the years, nonprofits affiliated with K12 have tried to open online charters in North Carolina, but have been rejected.

Different perspectives

After the interviews, Mark Jewell with the North Carolina Association of Educators argued that big for-profit companies like K12 waste taxpayer dollars.

“They’re looking at making money and I think the transparency issue is always going to be on the table there,” he said.

A few seats behind Jewell sat a group of parents with a very different perspective.

“I just thought it was a really good idea,” said Chandra Reed, who’s with the group “I Trust Parents.”

Reed has a son who is out of school now, but said she would strongly consider sending him to a virtual charter school if he were younger.

“Because he was very shy and school didn’t really benefit him,” she said.

Her son is the kind of demographic that virtual charter schools are after. They cater to kids who haven’t been thriving in traditional settings, whether it’s because of academic, mental or social reasons.

After the hour-long interviews, state committee members, like Becky Taylor, seemed torn. She said if the state commits, they have to do it right.

“And not just doing a willy-nilly, ‘Okay North Carolina is in the virtual business now,’” she said. “I think if we do that, we’re going to be in TVs and newspapers across the nation, and I don’t want to go there.”

A few of the members hesitated when they said yes, but all of them agreed to clear the applications for the two virtual charter schools. The State board of Education will make a final decision in February and students could be logging on next fall.

Two apply to run virtual public charter schools | Under the Dome Blog | NewsObserver.com

Two apply to run virtual public charter schools

Posted by Lynn Bonner on October 22, 2014

2014-10-22T22:40:57Z

The legislature ordered two virtual charter schools be approved for pilot programs beginning next year. The State Board of Education put out the call for applicants and got two responses.

The North Carolina Virtual Academy, which would contract with the for-profit company K12, and North Carolina Connections Academy applied.

Like traditional charters, the virtual charters would be public schools using taxpayer money to educate students. But class work would be done online.

K12 has tried to get a foothold in the state for years. NC Learns, a nonprofit that would have used K12’s curriculum, had a lawsuit to force the state to let it operate. K12 has been controversial other states.

The Tennessee Education Commissioner ordered the Tennessee Virtual Academy run by K12 to close next year because of low student growth.

North Carolina Connections Academy has tried to gain approval through the traditional State Board process. The board rejected its application this year, but there was some talk among members that it might make sense for the Connections Academy to apply as a pilot project.

An education consultant with the charter school office in the state Department of Public Instruction, said the board would still go through its applicant reviews even though there are only two applicants.

The board is scheduled to talk about the applicants in December and vote in January. The approved schools are scheduled to open in August.

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Lindsay Wagner of NC Policy Watch reports that the virtual charter corporation K12 is hoping to open an online school in North Carolina.


 


K12 was founded by Michael and Lloyd Milken and  has turned out to be a highly profitable corporation that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


 


It academic results are unimpressive, to say the least. Its students have a high dropout rate, low graduation rates, and low test scores. A study by the Walton-funded group at Stanford found that virtual charter schools in Pennsylvania, including K12, get worse results than either public schools or brick-and-mortar charter schools. A study by the National Education Policy Center criticized K12’s poor academic results and high administration costs; students at K12 actually fall behind real public schools. Stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post showed K12 to be one of the worst of all possible choices.


 


K12 makes a lot of money for investors. The schools it creates are not good schools, as judged by results.


 


Why would North Carolina want to siphon money away from its community public schools to pay off investors in a for-profit corporation?


 


Must be campaign contributions.  Or ideology. Or stupidity.
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1s2eajZ

Funniest Story of the Month | Diane Ravitch’s blog

Funniest Story of the Month

Diane Ravitch's blog[1]

A site to discuss better education for all

As I was doing some research about virtual charter schools, I came across an article that caused me to laugh out loud[2].

It appeared in the Star-Ledger, the main newspaper in New Jersey. It was titled “State Has Virtually No Reason to Not Give Online Charter Schools a Shot.”

It said the state should stop “dithering” and should promptly approve an online charter school. No delay, no moratorium, approve the online school now.

It was published on July 11, 2012, as the state’s Acting Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf and the state board of education were mulling a decision to authorize the megacorporation K12 to open an online charter school in New Jersey.

The reason I laughed out loud was that the article appeared on the same day that the FBI raided the offices of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter[3]. See here too[4].

And it appeared several months after the New York Times published a withering expose of the terrible academic record [5]of K12.

And it appeared fourteen months after the CREDO study of virtual charters in Pennsylvania,[6] which showed they get awful results.

The invaluable New Jersey blogger Jersey Jazzman showed the fallaciousness of the claim [7]that the state should not wait for more research but should promptly approve a virtual charter school.

Truly, this is one of those laugh out loud moments. They are so few these days that we should enjoy them.