*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.

Richard Burr 2US Senator Burr is the star witness at the NC General Assembly’s “bash the Affordable Care Act” here at UNC Greensboro today. Unfortunately Burr, described as “the foremost authority on health care in the Senate” by one of the legislators here, is making some pretty big mistakes in his testimony.  Amazingly, these mistakes just happen to contribute to his attack on the Affordable Care Act:

1.  Burr, in explaining his opposition to NC taking the federal money to expand the NC Medicaid program, suggests that NC Medicaid program doesn’t require beneficiaries to be assigned a primary care doctor.  He says if he could change the NC Medicaid program for the better he would require every beneficiary to be assigned to a primary care provider. Earth to Burr:  NC’s Medicaid program already does that.  From NC Medicaid’s website:

CCNC/CA is North Carolina’s Medicaid program. It provides you with a medical home and a primary care provider (PCP) who will coordinate your medical care.

As a CCNC/CA member, you are eligible for all the services that Medicaid covers. Being a member also has the following advantages:

You can choose a medical home with a primary doctor. A medical home can be chosen for each family member. Your local County Department of Social Services (DSS) office has a complete list of participating doctors. If you do not choose a medical home, you will be automatically assigned to one.

You can call your primary doctor day or night for medical advice. Check your Medicaid ID card for your doctor’s daytime and after-hours phone numbers.

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A Winston-Salem public charter school is continuing its efforts to bring in elite basketball players from around the nation and world, and recently saw three of its out-of-state players recruited to play next year at Division 1 colleges.

All three of the players who signed collegiate letters of intent came from outside North Carolina to attend Quality Education Academy, a charter school that is part of the state’s growing system of schools that are privately run by non-profit boards but funded with local, state and federal education dollars.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Charter Schools, which monitors the 127 charter schools in the state, has previously raised concerns about QEA’s controversial basketball program, but neither DPI nor the N.C. Board of Education have taken any significant steps to curtail or stop the out-of-state recruitment. The school and it basketball team were the subjects of an N.C. Policy Watch investigation last year (scroll down to read more about that report).

June Atkinson, a Democrat elected to head the state’s K-12 public education system, said last year that charter schools have to accept students from North Carolina but the laws governing charter schools are silent as to whether that means the school is open to only North Carolina residents.

Meanwhile, the  basketball program’s efforts to look outside North Carolina don’t appear to be slowing.

Isaac Pitts, the basketball coach for Quality Education Academy, recently referred to his ongoing efforts to pull in players from overseas on his  Instagram account.

“Evaluating overseas talent and liking what I see! Wow,” Pitts wrote on March 28 as a caption to a screenshot of several youth playing on an outdoor basketball court.

QEAoverseas

QEA basketball coach Isaac Pitts comments via Instagram on overseas recruiting efforts.

In another photo of what appears to be the same video, Pitts wrote, “Just sitting here looking at game film of kids we’re interested in.”

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AdamSearing Headshot JPEGAfter 17 years at the North Carolina Justice Center I’m finally going to be leaving.  I am joining  Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families (CCF) at the McCourt Center for Public Policy in DC.  Luckily I’ll be doing the much of the same work with CCF that I’ve done here in North Carolina but this time working with states around the country to continue Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The Center for Children and Families is a great organization I’ve had the pleasure to work with for many years, most recently on their innovative project to take what we learned here in North Carolina about using video in the nonprofit world to many other states.  I thought I would always be here at the Justice Center but this opportunity is simply too exciting and the ability to help expand health coverage for many, many more low income people is too important to pass up.  Living my values is one of the great privileges of my job here at the Justice Center and I’m excited to continue to work for equity in health care for families in all states around our country – an outcome that is long overdue.

[You can read the CCF announcement about my hiring here. ]

 

Be assured however that I will continue to push for reform here in North Carolina. My work with all my colleagues here at the Justice Center has highlighted the big changes necessary in our state.  Not only do we need to finish the job and expand Medicaid using federal dollars under the Affordable Care Act, but the recent changes to our tax system that shift the burden to middle and lower income families are unconscionable as well as the current assault on our teachers and educational institutions.  The Justice Center is a force for opportunity and change in the Old North State and I look forward to continuing to work with my friends here as a partner as I begin a new role.

So, while my job may be changing, my commitment and the work I do will not.  It’s been a great 17 years.  I look forward to the next challenge.

The Charlotte Observer hits the nail on the head with this editorial on the latest controversy surrounding North Carolina’s supposedly public charter schools:

“It’s disappointing that officials of some N.C. charter schools are trying to evade full disclosure of who gets paid what at the schools. Charters are ‘public’ schools and should be subject to the same transparency requirements as all other public schools. Read More