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Report assails K12, Inc.-backed California virtual charter school for producing more dropouts than graduates

K12, Inc.A report released Thursday blasts K-12, Inc.-backed California Virtual Academies (CAVA), that state’s largest provider of online education, for producing few graduates and directing large amounts of revenue toward advertising, executive salaries and profit — while paying its teachers less than half the average wage traditional public school teachers earn.

“It is too easy for kids to fall through the cracks in CAVA’s current online schooling system,” said Donald Cohen, executive director for In the Public Interest, the Washington-based think tank that penned the report. “We are calling on California to immediately increase oversight of online education to ensure students are receiving a quality education.”

Notable findings of the report include:

  • In every year since it began graduating students, except 2013, CAVA has had less than a 50 percent graduation rate, while California’s traditional public school graduation rate has hovered around 80 percent;
  • Some CAVA students log into their virtual classroom for as little as one minute a day, which is enough to give the charter its daily attendance revenue from the state;
  • While K12 Inc. paid almost $11 million total to its top six executives in 2011-12, the average CAVA teacher salary was $36,150 that same year — close to half of average teacher pay in California; and
  • In December 2011, the California Charter Schools Association called for the closure of CAVA in Kern County because the school did not meet its renewal standards.

North Carolina’s State Board of Education gave the green light to K12, Inc. earlier this month to finally open up shop here after years of efforts on their part to open a virtual charter school in the state.

K12, Inc. has a history of producing low performance and graduation rates across the country, 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.

Last summer, Tennessee’s education commissioner ordered the closure of a struggling K12, Inc.-operated online school there thanks to poor academic outcomes.

While the State Board of Education has authorized the arrival of K12, Inc. in North Carolina, their approval didn’t come without reservations; several members of the board expressed concerns that the virtual school would only be accessible to those with considerable means, excluding economically disadvantaged students that lack computers or parental support critical to academic success.

Click to read the full report, Virtual Public Education in California.

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