by David Safier
Longtime readers of BfA know I regularly post news -- and sometimes make news -- about the for-profit, publicly traded online charter corporation K12 Inc. Its Arizona school is Arizona Virtual Academy.
All of a sudden, there's a flurry of news coming out. The National Education Policy Center put out a 50 page pdf, Understanding and Improving Full-Time Virtual Schools, which focuses on K12 Inc. One of its findings, which has been reported before, is that students' overall academic achievement rates are very low, a stat which should make even conservatives sit up and take notice. Conservatives tend to be very pro "education choice" and pro-online learning, but they're also fond of saying how much they value testing data. Clearly, K12 Inc. doesn't pass the data test.
Education Week is on the story, as it has been in the past (the Washington Post and NY TImes have also reported about K12 Inc.), and just this morning reports that K12 Inc. stock is down. At the end of June it was at 25. Today it's closer to 20. The corporation took a similar hit in its stock price when the NY Times published its piece last December.
Arizona should care about K12 Inc. because its Arizona branch, Arizona Virtual Academy, has over 4,000 students enrolled and is currently on academic probation.
Reporters, if you want a local comment on the national corporation, talk to ex-Intel CEO Craig Barrett, who sits on K12 Inc.'s Board of Directors. He's one of only 8 Board members, so he's in an important, influential position in the corporation. Barrett is quick to talk about his association with BASIS Charters because of the schools' stellar academic reputation, and he's the guy Brewer picked to head her Arizona Ready Education Council, but I've never heard him talk about his very close association with K12 Inc. Maybe someone should ask.
CONTACT ME: If you're a current or former K12 Inc. employee -- or a student or student's parent -- and would like to share information about the schools or the national corporation, you may either add comments to this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I keep all email correspondence confidential.