GOP crams online charter schools down NC's throat

Mandating a failing system:

The state budget that Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law earlier this month includes a provision requiring the State Board of Education to authorize two online charter schools to serve K-12 students by next fall.

In drafting the budget provision for the virtual charter schools, lawmakers ignored many of the education board's recommendations. For example, lawmakers allowed the online schools to receive both state and local funding for students, while regular charter schools receive only state money. State law also lets the online schools enroll more students and have more students drop out than educators wanted.

Bolding mine. When your pet project (K12 Inc) has so many shortcomings and faults it can't meet even the minimum standards of being authorized, what do you do? You either lower the standards or you force the authorizing body to acquiesce via government fiat. Adding to the ever-growing list of behaviors exhibited by our General Assembly that closely resemble that of Third-World tyrants.


k12 closed out of Tenn

When the subject of these virtual schools came up 2-3 years ago, NCGA admitted that while most charters needed a building to house their students and had to pay for that out of the funding they received, these virtual charters do not need buildings around the state for that purpose. Thus, they should not be allotted the same amount of funding as a charter that needs a building. That seems to have gone by the way-side in this session.

I am not certain where the article above got the information that charter schools only receive state money. From the beginning, local school authorities were required to provide to charters any per student local funding, and the most recent (2014) legislation even requires local LEAs to provide to charters the info they use to calculate that per student allocation and to pay that allocation in a timely manner.

Tennessee recently forced K12 to close their charter school in that state, and NC Policy Watch reported as follows (emboldening mine):

K12, Inc. has a history of producing low performance and graduation rates across the country, most recently prompting the NCAA to announce that it will no longer accept coursework from 24 virtual schools that are affiliated with the company.

The company has also been compared to subprime mortgage lenders, pulling in and churning out a disproportionate amount of students who are not well prepared for the online learning model–all in the name of big profits from taxpayer budgets.

A spokeswoman for K12, Mary Gifford, told members of a study committee considering virtual charter school options here in North Carolina that the poor results simply reflect the fact that their company tends to attract low performing students, and the home-based system of education can do little to help that demographic.

Their own spokesperson admits that they are not suited to teach low-performing students! Yet we think they can help us in NC!!

Not to mention that the NCAA will not accept course work from schools associated with K12 should speak volumes to everyone in our state! We may lose some potentially great basketball players by allowing athletes to study though the K12 program.

I may be wrong,

but I think the local funding (for students) thing was pushed through as recently as 2012. And that was just to cover teaching/administrative costs, not capital improvements or new school construction. But as I said, I may be mistaken about that.

You could easily have missed

You could easily have missed the article on the FBI investigating charter schools. here

But these are small-time operators compared with Ronald Packard, the CEO of K12, Inc., the scandal-plagued online charter school company. Packard's salary was $4.1 million in 2013.

K12 has been charged with attempting to falsify records, using unqualified teachers, and booking classes of more than 100 students by state investigators in Florida.

Education reporter Jennifer Berkshire, aka EduShyster, shared Morningstar data on her blog showing that between 2012 and 2013, executive compensation at K12 grew by $11,399,514. In 2012, executives at K12 earned a total of $9,971,984 in compensation. Last year that figure jumped to $21,371,498.

"According to a lawsuit filed in US district court this spring," Berkshire writes, "Packard knowingly inflated the value of K12 stock by making *overly positive statements* about the company, its performance and its prospects, then cashed out, causing his personal numbers to add up to the tune of $6.4 million large."

As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), K12 has helped pushed legislation to replace bricks and mortar classrooms with computers and replace actual teachers with "virtual" teachers, generating enormous profits from its taxpayer-financed schools.

ALEC added K12 to its corporate board of directors just before its national convention in Dallas at the end of July.

Charters; they are all about the money.

Ron Packard is a pauper

Compared to K12's "Executive Chairman," Nathaniel Davis, whose 2013 compensation was a paltry $9.543 million.


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

I wonder what the salaries

I wonder what the salaries are for the virtual teachers, or do they just get a virtual salary?

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Each 'virtual' teacher could

Each 'virtual' teacher could have up to 100 students.

That would actually be a

That would actually be a little below the average for public middle school teachers. I normally have four classes with 25-30 students in each class.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

When the first charter law

When the first charter law went into effect in the 1990s, I was part of a League of Women Voters study on them. We visited almost a dozen different charter schools, visited the Department of Public Instruction office dealing with them, and also checked in with our local Chapel Hill/Carrboro school system.

At that time, CHCCS had decided to send their portion of per student funds, the local supplement, to the charter schools once a month instead of all at once at the beginning of the year, as the state did. They also went to the trouble of verifying that the student the charter was educating actually lived within the school district.

How does one verify...

...whether the enrolled online student is the person actually doing the work????


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Study from Colorado

In 2010-2011 school year, K12 Inc. enrolled about 65,000 students nationwide. That's about 60% of the enrollment of North Carolina's two largest school districts (Wake County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg), each with over 100,000 K-12 students.

Imagine the outcry if the Wake County School Superintendent were paid $4.5 million a year.


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

This is nothing but yet another

handout of taxpayer money to out-of-state corporations.

NC already has a pretty robust public online/virtual school offering. So now we need to give people the option of a virtual charter school vs. a virtual public school? Yeah, right.

Nothing but transferring more public dollars to a few hand-picked private sector corporate fatcats.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014