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I think there is a definite place in education for online classes.

I do not think there is a place for such a misuse and abuse of taxpayer money.  K12 leaders appear to be squirming and trying to avoid giving full information to the investigators or to the districts.  

This to me is part of that education "reform" steamroller hitting public schools so quickly they wonder what happened.  So much power and money behind this movement.

From the Lakeland Ledger:

Online Educator K12 Being Investigated By Florida Department of Education

There is so much information in this article it is hard to just pick 4 paragraphs.  

The Florida Department of Education has launched an investigation of K12, the nation's largest online educator, over allegations the company uses uncertified teachers and has asked employees to help cover up the practice.

K12 officials asked state-certified teachers to sign class rosters that included students they hadn't taught, according to documents that are part of the investigation.

In one case, a K12 manager instructed a certified teacher to sign a class roster of more than 100 students. She only recognized seven names on that list.

"I cannot sign off on students who are not my actual students," K12 teacher Amy Capelle wrote to her supervisor.

The company actually put the request to teachers to claim students they did not know in an email.  The email said they were being asked to sign off on such students because "you were qualified to teach that subject and we needed to put your name there".

In Seminole County, parents were given a list of names and asked to verify if these were their children's teachers.  Only 36 percent verified that their child's teacher was the one listed.

Seminole County has seen even more of these questionable practices.

K12 Inc.: The Skirmish In Seminole County And The Desperate Race

The article begins with an update from the author of the article about the upcoming investigation.

Note from author: Over the past week, the NCAA notified K12 Inc. (LRN) that it will no longer accept credits earned from Aventa Learning, a K12 unit whose Internet coursework has been favored by college student-athletes or those prepping for professional debuts, because of concerns over rigor and standards. Language and documents discussing this have been inserted near the bottom of the article.
More:
From the moment it secured its contract to run Seminole County's Virtual Instruction Program in early 2009, K12 represented to Florida Department of Education officials that courses offered in a fast-growing virtual school were taught by certified teachers.

In many cases they were not.

Nor, according to documents obtained by The Financial Investigator via the Freedom of Information Act, was this a one off administrative or judgement error.

..."The tips pointed investigators to a series of emails and phone calls in August and September 2009 between Patty Betoni, the then-Director of Virtual Instruction Programs at Florida Virtual Academies (the K12 unit running Florida's county-level virtual instruction programs; she now holds the title of Head of School) and Diane Lewis, Seminole County's Director of Instructional Technology.

The writer mentions that K12 has paid off for its investors, but apparently not so much for the students.  He mentions that there have been many "headlines centering on concerns over the effectiveness of K12′s schools or programs."

Too many of the charter schools and online schools in the "reform" movement are blatant in their disregard of rules and regulations that public schools must follow.  They seem to have a sense of entitlement to do as they wish.

Here is a website to read the actual documents that led to the investigation of K12.

Read The Documents That Led Florida To Investigate K12, The Nation’s Largest Online Educator

Originally posted to floridagal on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 08:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The road to hell is privatizing governmental (8+ / 0-)

    functions.

    Roman Catholic by birth---thoroughly confused by life.

    by alasmoses on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 09:00:59 PM PDT

  •  We're seeing a lot of (6+ / 0-)

    promotion for this program here.  It advertises that there is no tuition fee.

    The tuition costs come from the taxpayers??  Good grief.

    Three quarters of it's stock is owned by a major financial institute.  That's not privatizing education, that's selling it to the highest bidder.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 01:56:39 AM PDT

    •  We've had TV ads for them here in PA. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nupstateny

      They managed to get the state to certify them as one of the "charter cybers" that students from "distressed" districts are allowed to transfer to. They suck up the per-student payments from the state and short-change the students with a cheap, simplistic, packaged and often poorly taught curriculum. They must use non-certified teachers (no matter what they claim) because they pay very poorly and have no benefits or job security worth the name. Only the most desperate (or worst) certified teachers are likely to work for them for very long, if at all.

      What really gets me is that they do all this to teachers in the name of cost-savings that get applied to better education, yet somehow they have an advertising budget that lets them buy morning-show ad time on the major networks in the Philly market (not exactly cheap ad time.) K12 is an example of the worst kind of the education privatizers: vultures out to kill public education and strip the carcass of ever bit of meat they can get.

      Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

      by Stwriley on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:13:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  questions-I hope you don't mind (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, blueintheface, Stwriley

    (and full disclosure-I am a virtual HS teacher-not in Florida. I'm quite familiar with this K-12 outfit. um...snake oil comes to mind...)

    I know Florida has their own Florida Virtual School which is run by the state DOE and it's free to residents. Why would there be a need for another and for-profit virtual program? Why would a county have or want to contract with a for-profit vendor when the state provides the same services? Don't the vendors have to be approved or at least vetted before having permission to provide services?

    Warning: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

    by history first on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 03:44:31 AM PDT

    •  FLVS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      history first, Stwriley

      has long offered individual courses to middle and high school level students. It is a very popular option in FL. It is not the full-time FCAT-based curriculum for the K through 12 students served by K12/Connections Academy. Although you can access K12 through the FLVS website, which adds to the confusion, FLVS has been around longer and is an a la carte arrangement.

      The FLVS students -- who may be public school or private school or county-registered homeschoolers -- use these courses to supplement the rest of their schooling and retain their original status.

      OTOH, some counties now have the K12/Connections Academy option for public school students (including the FCAT) and county-registered homeschoolers (not including the FCAT) which is the full curriculum.

      •  Thank you for taking the time-I appreciate the (0+ / 0-)

        information. I forgot that K12 offers programs for elementary students. Oh and I didn't realize that Florida Virtual was only supplemental. I understood students could get a diploma through them.  I find the overlap confusing as well.

        You don't have to answer this but I'm just thinking out loud. If a student needs full-time schooling services (for which K12 would be a viable option) that means he/she is not a public school student. Why would a county have anything to do with that; shouldn't the parents of that student go through the state DOE?

        Then again, I wouldn't put it past K12 to get county officials to think that they need them instead of the Florida Virtual for full-time public school students and hire them (in the virtual learning biz we call that "poaching"), which probably explains why an investigation is necessary.

        Warning: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

        by history first on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 06:21:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The parent has the option. (0+ / 0-)

          Depending on what is offered by your county (and that has changed several times over the past few years) --

          You can be a homeschooler, registered with your county as a homeschooler (not enrolled with a private school operating as an umbrella school for home educators which is the other main option for home education in FL) and maintain your status as a homeschooler, following those guidelines and having the annual evaluation, not doing the FCAT and not receiving a state-issued diploma, and use the K12/Connections Academy full-time curriculum as your curriculum.

          Or your child can be registered as a public school student and maintain your status as a public school student while using the K12/Connections Academy full-time curriculum as your curriculum at home. Your student would take the FCAT, operate per public school guidelines and receive a state-issued diploma.

          Link to that info: http://www.flvs.net/...

          Or your middle school or high school level child could be a homeschooler, registered with the county as a homeschooler, and use FLVS as part of their curriculum. Link with not a lot of info -- http://www.flvs.net/...

          Or your middle school or high school level child could be a private school student, either attending a brick and mortar private school or enrolled in an umbrella school, which is a private school for home educators. That private school affiliates with (does some paperwork) FLVS and your child can use FLVS as part of their curriculum. Same link as the last one but you would actually talk to the owner of the private school.

        •  I did find this about FL Virtual School (0+ / 0-)

          I was not sure of the difference myself.  This is from the Florida Virtual School website explaining that Florida Virtual Academy is K12.   Just that one word difference.

          https://www.facebook.com/...

          "Dear FLVS Students and Families,

          In the past few days, there have been many news articles regarding a Florida Department of Education investigation into the use of non-certified teachers by the for-profit virtual school K12, Inc. that provides services in 43 Florida school districts. There has been some media confusion because K12, Inc. operates under the name Florida Virtual Academy in some of
          these districts. We want to be sure that you know that this virtual school is not Florida Virtual School and that our instructors are Florida certified. We do not have any affiliation with K12, Inc./Florida Virtual Academy.

          As always, we at FLVS are most concerned with ensuring that we provide the best online learning experience for our students. We do not want these news stories to have any negative impact on our students and families; we hope that this clarification will help you address any questions that you may receive."

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