"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tennessee's K12, Inc. Virtual School Receives Lowest Score Possible and $16,000,000 a Year to Pay for It

Last week even TFA lawyer and Commissioner of Education in TN had described the for-profit K-12, Inc.'s Tennessee operation as "unacceptable," which is no surprise to anyone who has followed K-12's checkered history, which began when gambling addict, Bill Bennett, leveraged his influence with the Bushies to cart away $14 million in discretionary federal grants to start his online empire.  Bennett resigned in 2005, but the company has continued to expand into 30 states.

Tennessee newspapers reported last week that the Tennessee franchise, which is run through the impoverished Union County Schools in East Tennessee, scored the lowest possible score on the state testing scale: 1 out of 5. That represents the bottom 10 percent in a state that is in bottom 20 percent nationally on NAEP

In July of this year, a new research study was released that demonstrated what a waste of money K-12 represents for a cash-strapped state like Tennessee.  The summary:

• Math scores for K12 Inc.’s students are 14 to 36 percent lower than scores for other students in the states in which the company operates schools.
• Only 27.7 percent of K12 Inc.’s schools reported meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards in 2010-11, compared to 52% for brick-and-mortar schools in the nation as a whole.
• Student attrition is exceptionally high in K12 Inc. and other virtual schools. Many families appear to approach the virtual schools as a temporary service: Data in K12 Inc.’s own school performance report indicate that 31% of parents intend to keep their students enrolled for a year or less, and more than half intend to keep their students enrolled for two years or less.
• K12 Inc.’s schools spend more on overall instructional costs than comparison schools – including the cost of computer hardware and software, but noticeably less on teachers’ salaries and benefits.
• K12 Inc. spends little or nothing on facilities and maintenance, transportation, and food service.
• K12 Inc. enrolls students with disabilities at rates moderately below public school averages, although this enrollment has been increasing, but the company spends half as much per pupil as charter schools overall spend on special education instruction and a third of what districts spend on special education instruction.

K-12 is currently under investigation in Florida for hiring uncertified teachers and trying to force certified teachers to sign rolls that are not their own.  In Georgia,

The Office of the Georgia School Superintendent has threatened to terminate the K12-run Georgia Cyber Academy’s charter with the state unless the online school reduces its teacher-student ratios, hires more staff to help students with disabilities and irons out some financial issues, according to an Aug. 7 letter from the state agency posted by the Financial Investigator."

In Ohio, teacher student ratios are one teacher to 51 students, while millions are drained from the public school funds.

In Tennessee, enrollment this Fall is projected at 3,000.  That's $16,000,000 dollars a year going to fund a bottomless hole in the ground that has no value to be added to Tennessee's vaunted value-added system.  What has been the reaction by ALEC-owned Tennessee legislators, who can't get enough of those corporate education solutions?  They have decided to evaluate K12, Inc. every year, rather than every other year.  Really?  Really.

If this were a public school, the school would be on the legislative list of schools to be turned over to the charterizers to use public assets to run the school for corporate gain.  Oh, I forgot--this one already has.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:57 PM

    My nephew is 10 years old and his parents are using this virtual school...he cant tell you the difference in a nickle or a dime and he has not been tested this year st all on his progress. I'm VERY concerned about this schools credibility and wondered who I would contact about his particular situation. Any advice would be appreciated.