More Response to The New York Times

The New York Times article featuring K12 Inc. was as one-sided as I expected it would be.  The reporter editorializes throughout and took great care to use only selective information to put the most negative slant on K12 and online schools. The reporter liberally quotes well-known critics but gives no room for leading voices supportive of education reform.

This despite hours of time spent with K12’s academic and curriculum experts and school leaders, and more email exchanges than I can

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Parents Respond to New York Times Opinion Writer

I recently responded to a misinformed New York Times (NYT) column that questioned the value online public schools. Unfortunately, NYT shut down the comment section and did not give parents the opportunity to share their stories and tell readers why they chose online public schools for their children. Many parents took to the K12 Facebook page to make their voices heard.

Here are some of their reactions:

“…I disagree with her. my son does [the] k12 program and has more time to learn and

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New York Times Columnist Misses the Mark

No doubt getting a preview of a NYT piece yet to come, Gail Collins uses her column to question the validity of online public schools (for everyone except middle class homeschoolers), and tries to make her case using some flimsy arguments, and familiar critics:

  • Kevin Welner from the union-funded National Education Policy Center who dismisses the extensive research in the field of online learning as nothing but “a couple of blog entries.”  These reports, evaluations, and studies don’t

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Part 2: Why Online Public School Works – From The People Who Really Know

Below are more comments from some of the K12 families that utilize online public schools, answering a question posed on K12’s Facebook page. The question asks, “The reason our family chose online school for our educational needs is…”

“…Learning has become fun again and interesting, and the boys have a more active social life than ever with other children that we know because of the flexibility in their schedule. We don’t know why we didn’t do this years ago!” 


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Why Online Public School Works—From the People Who Really Know

Much is often said about the value of online schools from people with little or no experience.  The voices that are too often left out are the most important ones –parents and students.  Below are comments from some of the K12 families that utilize online public schools, answering a question posed on K12’s Facebook page.  The question asks, “The reason our family chose online school for our educational needs is ...”

Read the reasons these parents and students chose online public

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Another Flawed Report from NEPC

The National Education Policy Center’s (NEPC) latest report once again takes aim at online public schools.  This is not surprising coming from an outfit funded by the largest and most powerful teachers’ union in the U.S., the National Education Association.  NEPC’s history of antagonism toward education reform, charter schools, online public schools, and parent choice in education is well-established.

Yet their stuff is often used as fodder for opponents of education choice and

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Moving away from a count date in Colorado

A news report out of Colorado contained a lot of the same mistakes and mischaracterizations that others have made about online schools.  However, it did one thing well:  highlighted the need for Colorado to reexamine its school funding model to ensure funds follow students to the school of their choice anytime during the school year. 

Currently, the state funds all public schools based on a single calendar year enrollment count date (October 1).  This means that if a student needs to

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Responding to Senator Berke’s Attack on Online Public Schools

I thought Tennessee state representative Fitzhugh’s column was over the top until I read this piece from state senator Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga). 

Senator Berke slams Tennessee’s new law expanding online school options for children calling it the “most destructive piece of legislation” that “could do the most damage to Tennessee education.”  Quite an inflated indictment, but that’s about the extent of his argument, at least as it relates to actual policy.  After that he packs

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Responding to Tennessee State Representative Craig Fitzhugh

I couldn’t let this column by state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-TN) titled, “Virtual Schools Bad for Education Reform” go by without responding.  It was so full of errors I almost didn’t know where to start.  I don’t know Rep. Fitzhugh, so I won’t suggest he was intentionally misleading readers.  I’ll just give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  Let me attempt to dissect it. 

Rep. Fitzhigh writes, “Under HB 1030, local

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More Headaches in Tennessee

Yesterday in my blog I wrote how the real frustration for Tennessee families is not with Tennessee Virtual Academy, K12, or Union County Public Schools, but with trying to work through the myriad of state-mandated forms required for enrollment.

At the end of day, parents can overcome paperwork, but it is really hard to overcome bureaucratic power and control. 

This report from Channel 9 in Chattanooga, TN shows the real headaches parents have to deal with when trying to exercise public

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Providing Headache Relief for Families in Tennessee

Boy, did the Memphis Commercial Appeal get it wrong.

On August 20, the Appeal published a slanted article calling the new Tennessee Virtual Academy, “a real headache,” suggesting  widespread frustration among families attempting to enroll their children in the new online public school.

Considering the high level of excitement from Tennessee families and the rush to participate in Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA), I was very skeptical.

The Appeal’s story is based almost entirely on a

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New Virtual School in Tennessee A Value for Children and Taxpayers

Recently, K12 Inc. partnered with the Union Country school district in Tennessee to open Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA) to serve students throughout the state. While many are excited to have an alternative for their children and welcome the innovation, there are some who are unsure.

The Memphis newspaper, Commercial Appeal, wrote a largely one-dimensional story about TNVA charging that it will “siphon off taxpayer funds,” as if that was the only goal of Union County Public School when it

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Who's Your Boss?

People answer this question in a variety of ways. At work, it's the person you report to who provides guidance and feedback to help you be your best. At home, it's often your parents. In a spiritual sense, for many it's a higher authority.

Everyone benefits from these relationships because they enable us to develop and become the best we can be.

At K12, we have several important bosses. They include the public school systems and state governments that choose and contract with K12 to provide

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Reality: Pennsylvania Charters are Catalyst for Ed Reform

The headline says it all:  Money motivates school districts to feed desire for online curriculum

How rich that the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) adds the exclamation point that, for some school districts, it’s about the money first.

“Many districts say that providing more opportunity for their students has been the key motivator for their interest in online programs, but Steve Robinson, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, said their driving force

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AYP, an Unreliable Measure of School Performance

Derek Thompson at the Atlantic chimed in on the Businessweek article featuring K12.  He got tripped up on a few things: 

First, K12 is not a “for-profit virtual middle school.”  It is a provider of online curriculum, technology and school services.  The company partners with schools, school districts and other education institutions to provide online learning programs and services.  All the schools using K12 are nonprofit and governed by an independent, nonprofit governing board. 

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Empowering Parents with Choice in Education

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek paints a misleading picture of online charter schools, teachers and students.  Throughout the article, there is a fundamental misunderstanding of online learning and the role of education providers such as K12 Inc.

Online public schools offer parents and students educational options and the freedom to choose the public school that works best for them. Every student who enrolls in an online public school using K12 curriculum is there by choice. No

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School Choice in Tennessee

Sometimes the good news is that the bad news is wrong.

That’s surely the case with the story a Tennessee state legislator and his political party friends tried to create. 

They suggested the Virtual Public Schools Act introduced in Nashville to encourage public school options, including online education, is a huge departure and somehow not helpful to parents and students.

They may want to question their sources next time.

Tennessee law already permits local education agencies to operate

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Education Policy

Washington State has been progressive in education policy in many respects.For instance, it embraced online learning in public schools earlier than many states, created Alterative Learning Experience (ALE) programs, and approved the 2005 digital program law.

Since then, ALE programs have become an accepted, valued and vibrant part of public education in the Evergreen State.But some legislators in Olympia seem willing to roll back progress by singling them out for significant and additional

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