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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Kids mean money for big virtual schooling firms looking into Florida



Florida lawmakers opened the doors to virtual charter schools earlier this year. Applications streamed in. One of the most prominent firms seeking to enter the new market -- and grab a share of the state's student funding -- was K12, the nation's largest online school company.

Already a provider to individual school districts, K12 applied to open Florida Virtual Academy charters in several counties.

Many districts have rejected the proposals. A wise move? A NY Times investigation into K12 suggests that the company is more about profit than education:

"The growth of for-profit online schools, one of the more overtly commercial segments of the school choice movement, is rooted in the theory that corporate efficiencies combined with the Internet can revolutionize public education, offering high quality at reduced cost.

"The New York Times has spent several months examining this idea, focusing on K12 Inc. A look at the company’s operations, based on interviews and a review of school finances and performance records, raises serious questions about whether K12 schools — and full-time online schools in general — benefit children or taxpayers, particularly as state education budgets are being slashed.

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

What have your interactions with K12 been like?

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 9:25am]


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