Homework for Ark. Bd. of Education and legislators | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homework for Ark. Bd. of Education and legislators

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 8:54 AM

WALL STREET SUCCESS: On-line schools affiliated with K12 Inc. Student success is another story nationally.
  • WALL STREET SUCCESS: On-line schools affiliated with K12 Inc. are good for profits, but not so great for students, a New York Times article says.

Required reading for the Arkansas Board of Education, Arkansas legislators and anyone interested in "school reform":

It's a major investigation by the New York Times into on-line schools, "virtual charter schools" or however you want to style them. This is directly relevant here because the article focuses on K12 Inc.. And what is K12? It is a for-profit corporation. In the anything-goes-Huckabee era, K12 (founded by William "Slot Machine King" Bennett) drove the formation of the Arkansas Virtual Academy, which reaps significant amounts of public tax dollars for the corporate sponsor. Its expansionist vision has mostly been restrained here. But it never quits trying. It was denied an expansion from 500 to 1,500 students in June

And what does the NYT find generally about the virtual charters?

* They amount to a public subsidy for home schoolers.

* The teachers made available to work with students on-line are underpaid and have crushing student loads.

* Profit for the private investors appears to be their most important product. (No kidding. They get per-pupil tax money equivalent to schools that have cafeterias, gyms, labs, principals, real teachers instead of parent volunteers, computers, equipment, desks, etc.)

* Student results are uninspiring (a study shows only one in three of the "virtual schools" are making acceptable progress as measured by No Child Left Behind Standards).

My favorite nugget in the story was a quote from a K12 executive that the outfit's "core competency" was lobbying public officials. Not children. Not education. Lobbying — on which the company spends huge sums. As the Times put it, the online charters "score better on Wall Street than in classrooms." Said the Times:

... a portrait emerges of a company that tries to squeeze profits from public school dollars by raising enrollment, increasing teacher workload and lowering standards.

Current and former staff members of K12 Inc. schools say problems begin with intense recruitment efforts that fail to filter out students who are not suited for the program, which requires strong parental commitment and self-motivated students. Online schools typically are characterized by high rates of withdrawal.

Said an education researcher:


“These folks are fundamentally trying to do to public education what the banks did with home mortgages.”

In other words, the profiteers get the public's money. If the students fail, society pays, not K12.

Speaking of charter schools: Here's another dirty little secret about how many of them operate. They don't make accommodations for disabled students, as conventional school districts are required to do.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Jerry Dhonau, former Gazette editorial page editor, dies at 83

    Jerry Dhonau, a retired newspaperman whose career included reporting on the Little Rock school crisis and being editorial page editor of the Arkansas Gazette when it closed in 1991, has died. Ernest Dumas provides his colleague’s obituary.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • DHS confirms it's withholding personnel records on Leslie Rutledge

    Chris Burks, the lawyer in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking personnel records of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge when she was a staff lawyer at the Department of Human Services, says DHS confirms the existence of records that have not been released in previous examinations of her record there.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • Death reported in Malvern prison

    The Correction Department is reporting what it calls an apparent suicide Thursday evening in the Ouachita River Correction unit in Malvern.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: An open line

    • 1958 we had a group of student from Turkey and they were hostile to Any…

    • on August 18, 2018
  • Re: An open line

    • My roommate and fellow history student told me about the Turks he fought with in…

    • on August 18, 2018
  • Re: An open line

    • There weren't a whole of lot of Turkish fighters in the Korean War, but there…

    • on August 18, 2018

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation