Friday, January 18, 2013

Virtual schools: K12 Inc in trouble in Colorado

A further update for those following the virtual charter schools issue, both here in Maine and abroad: K12 Inc, the company seeking to open a virtual charter school in Maine, is in trouble in Colorado, where they have operated a similar virtual school for a decade.

As reported in today's Portland Press Herald, the K12-operated Colorado Virtual Academy is at risk of being shut down after a review body recommended that its charter not be renewed. The staff noted the school's poor performance -- it has ranked in the bottom tenth of Colorado school for three years running -- and the "undue influence" K12 exercised over the school's local governing board.

Last week, Maine's charter school commission expressed similar governance concerns in regards to the proposed Maine Virtual Academy, which would be operated by K12. Gov. Paul LePage blasted the commissioners for rejecting this and three other proposed schools, suggesting they resign and "go away." Also in today's story, the head of the national association of charter school authorizers has come to the Maine commission's defense against the governor.

As previously reported, K12 is also under investigation in Florida over allegations it used uncertified teachers and enlisted staff to cover it up. The preliminary results of that investigation are expected soon.

The companies were the subject of a Maine Sunday Telegram investigation published Sept. 2 that revealed how they were influencing the creation of Maine's nascent digital school policies.

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