A long-time supporter of charter schools, the Walton Family Foundation, has issued a damning report regarding online charter 'cyber' schools. These are the same 'virtual charters' Senator Jerry Tillman demanded be opened here in North Carolina. K12-Inc opened the N.C. Virtual Academy, and Pearson opened the N.C. Connections Academy. Both have seen substantial loss of students since opening last fall. Emphasis below is mine.
The New Year finds more concerns regarding the advent of K12 Inc. running a virtual charter school here in North Carolina.
The company’s stock has been on a dive for a while now. Stockholders were not happy to hear in 2008 that the company had outsourced the grading of student essays to a company in India. Couple that with the continuation of high compensation for K12 Inc’s leadership and students showing poor performance in learning, and you get a strong downward trend in stock prices.
Today’s anticipated vote of approval 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.
Why "throw money" at NC's public schools, which graduate 80+% of their students, when you can piss away millions to out-of-state companies that often only achieve a 10% graduation rate? Because "Freedom." But the working poor better not get any ideas about taking part, because the GOP's irresponsibility is all-encompassing:
Is a virtual education the same thing as an in-person education? Can profits and education co-exist without short-changing children? And how much will this cost us? North Carolina is going to find out.
In last summer’s General Assembly session, Sen. Jerry Tillman (R, Moore, Randolph) pushed through a bill requiring the establishment in North Carolina of 2 virtual charter schools, knowing that one likely applicant was K12 Inc. And now that the law is in place, there have been only 2 applicants, one of which is K12 Inc.
At the same point in time that other states are finding schools run by K12 Inc to be inadequate to the job of educating students, North Carolina is opening the door to bring those problems here.
Both schools received unanimous endorsements from an interviewing committee that included representatives from the State Board of Education, its charter school advisory board, state education staff, and an outside evaluator. Some on the panel had to think hard about approving K12, and the company was asked to respond to questions about its performance in other states.
Tennessee’s education commissioner last year threatened to close Tennessee Virtual Academy, managed by K12, unless student performance showed significant improvement. Students in the Tennessee online charter had minimal learning growth. The board of trustees for the K12 school in Pennsylvania decided not to renew its management contract with the company, though it will continue to use its curriculum.
Where are the all-of-a-sudden-interested-in-education legislators who vehemently attacked the Common Core? Where's Lieutenant Dan? Taxpayer dollars going to fund an out-of-state education program, and a poor-performing one at that? Crickets. Proving it's not about the outcomes, it's about the method of delivery. And when that method generates private-sector profits for somebody, all other sins are forgiven
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