by David Safier
Aspects of the conservative "education reform" movement are coming under increasing scrutiny lately, especially the for profit wing of the movement. For profit, publicly traded K12 Inc., for instance, has taken lots of well deserved heat.
Meanwhile, K12 Inc., whose Arizona Virtual Academy has over 4,000 students and is currently on academic probation with the state, is running into roadblocks in other states. New Jersey is delaying the opening of K12 Inc.'s New Jersey Virtual Academy Charter School. It was rebuffed in its attempts to open a school in North Carolina. In Virginia where the corporation has its headquarters, the school district hosting the statewide school is dropping its affiliation. It's also finding tough sledding in Illinois.
Don't fret for the company, though. It spends millions lobbying state legislatures and has all kinds of friends in the heavily funded conservative "education reform" movement. Money, like water, always finds its way. K12 Inc. will be all right.
So will Craig Barrett, who sits on the corporation's national Board, as well as being president of BASIS charter schools and Jan Brewer's education mouthpiece. He's also the Chairman of the Board at Achieve, the group which created the Common Core along with the National Governors Association. Oh, and he recently had one of the school buildings at the Thunderbird School of Global Management named after him and his wife. It's now the Barbara and Craig Barrett Building. The man gets around.
Democrats on the education panel said the state should not subsidize virtual charter schools. They also criticized the schools because they are operated by corporations seeking to profit from online schooling.
"I just can't see where a full-time virtual school does much for a student," said Rep. Victoria Kornfield, D-Bangor. "I can see the value in some (part-time) situations, but I'm just fundamentally against it."