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Judge’s decision on K12, Inc. virtual charter school coming Friday

A Wake Superior Court judge will announce his decision Friday on whether a virtual charter school should open this fall, after the N.C. Board of Education neglected to take up its application.

The State Board of Education is asking Judge Abe Jones to set aside an administrative judge’s order and give the state board a second chance decide if the virtual charter school should be approved to open up in North Carolina. (The state education board didn’t act on the virtual charters application earlier this spring, saying they had already announced they weren’t going to take up online-only charter schools this year).

N.C. Learns, the non-profit set up to house the K12, Inc.-run school, wants the administrative law judge’s order to hold, so that they can open up this fall and begin recruiting students.  The company expects to find 2,750 students statewide in its first year, meaning more than $18 million of public education funding would be diverted from the already-tight budgets of public schools around the state.

The virtual charter school would be run by K12, Inc., a for-profit online education company that runs similar online-only school in 29 other states. Students at virtual schools take their classes online from their home computers, paid for by taxpayers.

There have been a lot of questions about the quality of K12 schools, with states like Ohio reporting four-year graduation rates as low as 30 percent, and down to 12.2 percent for black students.

North Carolina’s cohort graduation rate is 77.9 percent overall, and 71.5 percent for black students and 68.8 for Latinos.

In this case, The North Carolina Virtual Academy would be run by K12, and be open to students statewide. The school would get the same per-pupil amount as other charter schools get (ranges from $7,000 to $10,000, depending on where the student lives and if they are special needs), despite not having to shoulder the cost of having a physical school and paying for the building costs, and all that goes along with that.

This is just a quick update, and you can read more here about the hearing in today’s News & Observer, as well as this story from WRAL.

Check back with N.C. Policy Watch later on, where we’ll have more detailed account about yesterday’s hearing as well as Judge Abe Jones’ decision Friday.

5 Comments

  1. david esmay

    June 27, 2012 at 8:42 am

    The proponents of charter schools and virtual charter schools and the politicians that lobby for them, people like Fletcher Hartsell and Paul Stam, make ridiculous claims about saving money and giving the public a “choice” in regards to their efforts. This is nothing more than a violation of the public trust and an effort to siphon taxpayer dollars into their pockets and the pockets of the corporations that back them. They use advertising and propaganda to win the hearts and minds of the masses. the need for proof and evidence is overlooked as people are inundated with “information”about the need for corporate reformers, more testing, and charter schools to come in and rescue the education system. Most charter schools don’t out perform public schools, as schools they range in quality, but in general are not very good. But as avenues for well connected people to profit at the expense of children’s education, they’re fantastic. A recent study by the National Center for the Study of Privatization In Education found that in Michigan, which boasts a large number of charter schools, these schools spent far more per student on administration and much less on instruction than non-charter public schools. Why? You have to feed the shareholders. Another reason to reject charter schools, a Univ. of Colorado’s National Education Policy Center study found that charter schools tend to be much more racially segregated than traditional public schools. The success of some charter can also be misleading, unlike public schools who have to take everyone, in a charter school, if a child doesn’t consistently perform to the standard they would like him/her to, they can send them back to public schools, a year or two behind their classmates. We shouldn’t be expanding charter schools and especially virtual charter schools, we should be closing them down.

  2. Alex

    June 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Remarks by Secretary Arne Duncan to the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools
    July 1, 2010

    I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you there live today in person, but I’ll keep my remarks very brief and open it up to any questions you might have.

    First of all, it has been a remarkable year for charter schools. We’ve seen a number of states remove barriers to innovation. I’ve visited a number of charter schools in a dozen or more states, been to dozens of charter schools around the country, and I’ve just been amazed by the quality, the commitment, the difference that charter schools are making in students lives. I’ve been to school after school where achievement gaps have basically been eliminated, where children in inner-city communities are performing as well, if not better, than their counterparts in much wealthier suburbs. And for all the challenges we face in this country educationally, the reason why I’m actually so optimistic is because you guys are helping to demonstrate what’s possible, where there are high expectations, where there is an absolute belief that every child can be successful. And I want to thank you for that remarkable commitment.

  3. david esmay

    June 27, 2012 at 11:30 am

    That’s great Alex, but Duncan also sends his kids to public schools, and like any bureaucratic, he is championing his own ‘Race to the Top’ program. I choose to disagree with those who champion charter schools, especially privately own ones. I also question why he would put himself close to Michelle Rhee, just as I question William Bennett’s relationship with Michael Milken.

  4. Alex

    June 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    In a proclamation released by the White House today, Obama said charter schools for years “have brought new ideas to the work of educating our sons and daughters.”
    “Whether created by parents and teachers or community and civic leaders, charter schools serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country,” he said in a release.

    “These institutions give educators the freedom to cultivate new teaching models and develop creative methods to meet students’ needs. This unique flexibility is matched by strong accountability and high standards, so under-performing charter schools can be closed, while those that consistently help students succeed can serve as models of reform for other public schools.

  5. Andrew

    June 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    David, my grandfather used to say ” A small mind hates new ideas “