Virtual School Meanderings

October 15, 2013

K12, Inc. School Misleads And Misdirects

Almost two years ago now,  posted a two-part entry on the Tactics of The Neo-Liberals/Conservatives in K-12 Online Learning (see Part One here and Part Two here).  I mention this because there was an illustration of these tactics last week that was just too perfect not to highlight – not so much that it happened, but because someone called the neo-liberal in question out on it.

The Idaho Press-Tribune published an article last week entitled “More reasons you should be concerned with K12 Inc.“.  In that article, they announced the discovered that it was recently revealed that back in 2008 the Idaho Virtual Academy outsourced the grading of some of its students’ work to a company in India.  As the article noted the story itself was nothing new, as an Arizona blogger had uncovered this back in 2008 (see AZ Online Charter School Outsources Education and An Explanation of the AZVA Outsourcing Process).  In fact, the Arizona blogger had indicated that there were a total of nine states involved in this K-12, Inc. practice – and Arizona was just one of them.  The actual news this week I suppose was that it was finally revealed that Idaho was one of the other eight states involvedK12, Inc. has since confirmed this to be the case – note they have still yet to release who the other seven states were to the best of my knowledge.

What becomes interesting for me is the K12, Inc. response…

Kelly Edginton, who is the Head of School for the Idaho Virtual Academy (IDVA), took to the Idaho Press-Tribune to defend her school.  In her seven paragraph response, she presents her own longstanding education credentials and touts all of the wonderful things her school and its teachers do.  Then a funny thing happened – someone left a comment.  This in and off itself isn’t the odd part.  The odd part is that fact that 48 hours after the story was published, it was still the sole comment on the piece (granted the six other articles about the IDVA in the Idaho Press-Tribune since 2008 have all received no comments).  The second odd thing about the comment was what it said.

Ms. Edginton says that Travis Manning’s op-ed piece “makes many inaccurate claims about our instructional practices and mischaracterizes the culture of our school.” Curiously, Ms. Edginton fails to enumerate those inaccurate claims and then refute them, electing instead to argue against claims that Mr. Manning never made.

Mr. Manning did not question the certification of IDVA teachers, nor question where they reside. He most certainly didn’t question their dedication to the well-being of students or whether they have “close personal relationships with parents.” He did not question whether IDVA is as accountable to taxpayers as any other public school, though he did note that K12, Inc. is not subject to open-meeting laws or public-records requests, and that K12, Inc.’s business practices, products, and services are regarded by the company as proprietary.

Rather than address the straw-man arguments she has erected, Ms. Edginton could have addressed those claims about K12, Inc. and addressed, as well, the other well-documented examples of K12’s questionable business practices and dismal academic results, particularly as embodied in K12’s troubled, taxpayer-funded schools in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Finally, Ms. Edginton tells only part of the story when she says “Our school does not use outside vendors to review or grade student work.” Perhaps IDVA doesn’t use outside vendors now, but it once did. That fact has been verified by K12, Inc. spokesperson Jeff Kwitowski.

Need I say more…

1 Comment »

  1. […] K12, Inc. School Misleads And Misdirects […]

    Pingback by Statistics for October 2013 | Virtual School Meanderings — November 1, 2013 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

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