Virtual School Meanderings

May 22, 2014

K12, Inc. And Texas

Updated: I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t fact check Diane’s blog entries.  It seems I should have, at least for the first one – as both Ravitch and her original source confused the TVSN and TXVA – see K12, Inc.’s rebuttal.

A couple of blog entries that crossed my radar screen yesterday about K-12, Inc. and Texas…

Shocker: Texas Lifts Enrollment Caps on K12

K12, the online charter corporation founded by the Milken brothers, has received a series of terrible evaluations. The NCAA recently denied a score of K12 “schools” credit because of the poor quality of instruction. A CREDO study in Pennsylvania concluded that virtual charters performed wose than public schools or brick-and-mortar charter schools.

Major stories in the Néw York Times and the Washington Post have reported that K12 virtual charters have high attrition rates, low test scores, and low graduation rates.

But K12 is good at two things: recruitment and lobbying.

In this article, Jason Stanford reports that Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams just lifted the enrollment cap on K12. Williams was previously head of the Railroad Commission, which theoretically “regulates” the energy industry.

According to Stanford, Williams is a friend of K12′s lobbyist. He, along with other key state officials, attended her lavish birthday party in Wine Country. The GOP candidate for governor has pledged to increase funding for K12.

In Texas, it seems the #1 criterion for education funding is not need, but lobbying. Kids come last.

Even Conservative Texans Know that K12 is a Hoax

Donna Garner is a retire teacher in Texas. She is conservative, politically and pedagogically. She is furious that the State Education Department is expanding the virtual charter school K12. Her commentary below shows what a hoax K12 is. Imagine getting credit for two years of Spanish in only eight weeks, and credit for one year of Environmental Science in only two days! Meanwhile, K12 gets full state tuition for enrolling these students. The corporation will use some of its profits to pay handsome executive salaries (its most recent CEO was paid $5 million a year), and it will use taxpayer dollars to advertise heavily for new students and to pay lobbyists to win entry into new markets or assure funding equal to that of real schools. This is about as close as one can get to a Ponzi scheme in education.

Donna Garner’ s post reminds us that the operative principle here is profit, not ideology.


[After I wrote and published the following article about the Texas Virtual Schools Network (5.18.14 - “Texas Virtual Academy: Another Failed Education Experiment” -- ), a frustrated parent posted her comments on Facebook telling about her son’s experiences in TXVSN in their local school district.

Please read these comments from the bottom of the page upwards. I have removed the identifiers to protect this parent and her son. – Donna Garner]

8:00pm May 18
From S. Oh, and the grades were 90′s or better

Comment History

From S.
7:59pm May 18
Donna, I questioned the curriculum dept, the virtual academy facilitators, teachers, school board and superintendent. I was made out to be the bad guy for questioning the program. How can a kid get a YEAR of Environmental Science in 2 days and 2 YEARS of Spanish in 8 weeks? My son will tell you he knows nothing about Spanish yet he got 2 credits for it.

Donna Garner

7:43pm May 18
I can’t tell you how furious S.’s message makes me. I taught Spanish I and Spanish II for many years. When I think how hard my students had to work day in and day out for a full year to get that course credit, and then S.’s son finished those courses in a matter of weeks, I want to say bad words. How any school district could approve of such a plan by the Texas Virtual Academy [TXVSN] shows how truly lacking in concern for academic excellence many of our school administrators really are.

From R.
6:17pm May 18
So who decided to have the virtual business academy at XXXX High School?

From S.
5:56pm May 18
My son took several classes through the virtual academy [TXVSN]. He finished Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 in just weeks and Environmental Science in 2 days. I brought up this issue and NO ONE in the district seemed concerned but me.

Donna Garner

Note it is worth visiting both entries to see the comments that were left.

May 10, 2014

Scale Online and Blended Learning through 13 Automated Processes

Also from Thursday’s inbox…


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2:00 PM EDT

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Tres Tyvand, Bend-La Pine School District

Tres Tyvand
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Bend-La Pine School District. OR

Matthew Camacho, Fuel Education

Matthew Camacho, 
Sr. Manager of Product Management
Fuel Education
2300 CORPORATE PARK DRIVE, HERNDON, VA 20171| 866.912.8588 |
Copyright © 2014, Fuel Education LLC. All rights reserved. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of those respective parties.

May 5, 2014

K12 Inc. Releases 24 New AP® Exam Prep Apps For Mobile Devices

Some weeks ago, K12, Inc. announced K12 Inc. Releases 24 New AP® Exam Prep Apps for Mobile DevicesEssentially, they had produced the following apps:

  • AP Exam Prep Biology
  • AP Exam Prep Calculus AB
  • AP Exam Prep Calculus BC
  • AP Exam Prep English Language and Composition
  • AP Exam Prep English Literature and Composition
  • AP Exam Prep Environmental Science
  • AP Exam Prep European History
  • AP Exam Prep Psychology
  • AP Exam Prep Statistics
  • AP Exam Prep U.S. Government and Politics
  • AP Exam Prep U.S. History
  • AP Exam Prep World History

They have a good commercial on YouTube that tours the AP Exam Prep World History.

They described that:

“Full-function “Lite” versions of all 12 AP Exam Prep apps can be downloaded for free from iTunes, GooglePlay and the Amazon AppStore.  A one-time in-app purchase of $9.99 – 11.99 will unlock the full content. Teachers and administrators can also take advantage of the 50% discount available for schools through the Apple Volume Purchase Program, where a paid “Full” version of the app is available.”

I’ve downloaded all of the lite versions, but haven’t had much of a chance to play around yet.  If it is anything like their other apps, and I suspect that it is, you can get a sense of the style of these apps from my Review of iPhone App – Algebra I Study Review (which I downloaded when it was free for one weekend).

May 1, 2014

LRN: K12’s CEO Discusses F3Q 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

From Tuesday’s inbox…

K12’s CEO Discusses F3Q 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript by SA Transcripts
This article was published on Tue, Apr. 29, 2:44 PM ET

Read the full article now »

Sent by Seeking Alpha, 345 7th Ave. Suite 1400 New York, NY 10001

April 30, 2014

Breaking: LRN Earnings

This came through yesterday morning – note still no Yahoo stock alerts (I may have to switch to Google).

K12 beats by $0.02, beats on revenue • 6:37 AM

  • K12 (LRN): FQ3 EPS of $0.40 beats by $0.02.
  • Revenue of $235.2M (+7.9% Y/Y) beats by $2.8M.
  • Press Release

Read comments

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