Search Results for: K12

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Tennessee’s education commissioner has ordered the closure of a struggling K12, Inc.-operated online school, as lawmakers here at home debate a budget proposal that could pave the way for K12 to finally set up shop in North Carolina.K12 logo

Tennessee Virtual Academy began operating in 2011 and struggled to produce positive academic results from the get go, according to The Tennessean. Three years of low student growth at the K12-managed school prompted Kevin Huffman, Tennessee’s education commissioner, to order the school’s closure at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

K12, Inc. has a history of producing low performance and graduation rates across the country, most recently prompting the NCAA to announce that it will no longer accept coursework from 24 virtual schools that are affiliated with the company.

The company has also been compared to subprime mortgage lenders, pulling in and churning out a disproportionate amount of students who are not well prepared for the online learning model–all in the name of big profits from taxpayer budgets.

A spokeswoman for K12, Mary Gifford, told members of a study committee considering virtual charter school options here in North Carolina that the poor results simply reflect the fact that their company tends to attract low performing students, and the home-based system of education can do little to help that demographic.

“High school is a nightmare,” Gifford told the virtual charter study group in February. “Forty percent of the students in high school will be very successful.”

K12, Inc. has been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to land in North Carolina, and is currently waiting on the state Supreme Court to hand down a decision on their appeal to open a virtual charter school in the state.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have acted on the recommendations of a virtual charter school study committee and have inserted language into the proposed 2014 budget to direct the State Board of Education to establish a Virtual Charter School Pilot Program, which would authorize the operation of two virtual charter schools serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

The provision would allow the virtual charters that show positive academic outcomes to become permanent institutions at the discretion of the State Board, without having to go through a formal application process.

There does not appear to be criteria set forth in the proposed legislation for how the State Board of Education should vet and select the two virtual charter schools that would take part in the pilot program.

Notably, at least 90 percent of all teachers employed by the virtual charter schools must reside in North Carolina.

To read the virtual charter school study committee’s report to the legislature, click here.

To read the language for a virtual charter school pilot program in the state budget proposal, click here and read section 8.35.

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*Scroll to the bottom for a response from K12, Inc.

The National College Athletics Association (NCAA) has announced it will no longer accept coursework in its initial eligibilityK12 logo certification process from 24 virtual schools that are affiliated with K12, Inc., a Wall Street-traded company that runs online schools across the nation.

According to the college recruiting website athleticscholarships.net, all of the 24 schools that the NCAA has denounced are nontraditional high schools and their courses were found not to comply with the NCAA’s nontraditional course requirements. Other schools not included in that group of 24 but are also affiliated with K12 Inc. remain under “Extended Evaluation,” meaning that the NCAA will review coursework from those schools and accept credits on a case-by-case basis.

K12, Inc., a Virginia-based for-profit company that runs online schools in 32 states and attributes nearly 85 percent of its income to public dollars, has been trying to make its way into North Carolina to open a virtual charter school.

K12’s bid to open up shop in NC has been unsuccessful so far. N.C. Learns, a non-profit managed by K12, appealed its unsuccessful attempt to open up a virtual charter school to the state’s highest court earlier this year. K12. also put forth an application under a different non-profit, N.C. Virtual Academy, to open a virtual charter school in the fall of 2015 (that application did not make it past the first round of reviews, but another virtual charter school application did — one affiliated with education assessment giant Pearson).

But the fight is not yet over for K12, Inc. Earlier this month, the State Board of Education endorsed a report from a virtual schools study committee that calls for the state legislature to test up to three new virtual charter schools beginning in 2015 for four years – and K12, Inc. could be included in that test group.

K12 has run into numerous problems recently, with school districts dropping their partnerships with the company, news of teachers lacking certification, and instances of very low graduation rates.

Last fall, news surfaced of a K12 school outsourcing the grading of student essays to workers in Bangalore, India.

The company has also run into trouble on Wall Street, where its stock was recently downgraded on account of slow enrollments.

*A representative from K12, Inc. reached out to N.C. Policy Watch to highlight their response to the NCAA’s actions. K12 believes that their teachers and courses meet the NCAA eligibility standards, and that NCAA employs vague standards and an unclear review process with regard to eligibility certification, leaving schools to guess at what would pass NCAA’s eligibility test.

Read K12, Inc.’s full response here.

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A for-profit online education company will be at the legislature tomorrow to give a pitch to lawmakers about the virtual public charter schools it runs, and profits from, in more than 30 other states.

An executive from K12, Inc., a Wall Street-traded company that gets the bulk of its revenue from running online public schools, is slated to make a presentation Tueaday at the Joint Legislative Education Oversight committee. The hearing begins at 10 am. Tuesday in room 643 of the Legislative Office Buildling.

(Steaming audio of the meeting will be available here, and a copy of the commitee’s agenda is here.)

Mary Gifford, the company’s senior vice-president for education policy scheduled to speak to lawmakers, also spoke last week in front of a virtual charter school study group assembled to craft recommendations for the State Board of Education of how the online-only schools should operate in North Carolina.

At that meeting, Gifford acknowledged low graduation and performance rates K12,Inc.-run schools have had in other states, saying that the company’s schools tend to attract low performing students and the home-based system of education can do little to help those high-school students.

“High school is a nightmare,” Gifford told the virtual charter study group last Tuesday. Forty percent of the students in high school will be very successful.”

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I wrote yesterday about the renewed attempts to open a virtual charter school in North Carolina run by K12, Inc., an online education company that’s faced fierce criticism for the quality of public education it delivers (Click here to read.)

A reader alerted me to a September presentation New York hedge fund manager  Whitney Tilson made at an investment conference where he  gave a harsh recap of K12’s business model, saying that the company pulls in students not well-suited for online learning in its pursuit of increased revenue from public coffers.

K12,Inc. (NYSE:LRN) earned $848 million in revenue for the 2013 fiscal year, 86 percent of it from its business running virtual public schools in 33 different states., according to its 2013 annual report.

Tilson doesn’t hold back much in his criticism.

“K12 reminds me of the subprime mortgage lenders and for-profit colleges when they were flying high – and the ending will be similar I believe,” Tilson wrote in an email to Business Insider, who posted his entire slide presentation here.

Tilson, also an outspoken education reform proponent who previously served on the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools board, “shorted”  K12’s stock in the presentation, meaning he predicts that the company’s value will go down.

He made his decision because of what Tilson describes as K12’s aggressive pursuit of students unsuitedto the home-based online schooling that led to poor academic results. He also expressed concern about numerous regulatory issues and accusations of wrongdoing K12 has faced that Tilson wrote, “I’m convinced the problems are endemic.”

K12, for its part, has defended its low test and graduation rates in many states, pointing out the schools they run tend to attract large numbers of at-risk students.

He highlights the Tennessee Virtual Academy, which opened in 2011 and is “the worst of any school in the state,” according to Tilson.

The school had test scores in its first year of operation that put it in the bottom 11 percent of Tennessee schools, according to 2011-12 school data.

“I think it’s safe to say there’s almost no learning at all going on at TVA,” Tilson writes on a slide showing the school’s low test scores.

TVA

Slide from Tilson’s presentation on TVA. Source: Business Insider

To read Tilson’s slideshow, which is chock-full of charts, data and interviews from named and unnamed former K12 employees, click here.

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A state appeals court found that a proposed online charter school to be run by a Wall Street-traded education company K12, Inc. did not have an automatic right to have its application considered.

The court’s decision puts a halt to any plans to open the virtual charter school, with no applications currently pending with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

In an order issued today in the case, N.C. Board of Education v. North Carolina Learns, the three-judge appeals court panel backed the prior rulings made by former Wake Superior Court Judge Abraham Jones that the State Board of Education (SBOE) acted properly when, in 2012, it didn’t act on an application submitted by the online school.

“NCVA [North Carolina Virtual Academy] argues that the SBOE was required to act before the 15 March deadline and thus lost its ability to act by failing to meet the deadline,” N.C Appeals Court Judge Wanda Bryant wrote in the opinion. “We disagree.

“[I]t is clear that the SBOE had no duty to review or otherwise further act on NCVA’s virtual charter school application,” she wrote.

To read the entire appeals court opinion, click here.

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