My Journey into Virtual Education

January 18, 2012

The New York Times
Editorials on Education

To Everyone’s Concern:

The article published in the New York Times on December 12, 2011 has compelled me to respond.  The content presented such a shallow view of virtual education and k12 specifically that I feel it paramount to share my experience. 

A thirty-seven-year career in major Northern Virginia and Maryland school systems, as both a teacher and an administrator, prepared me well to be hypercritical of virtual

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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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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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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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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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