[LINK] colorado online schools

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Fri Feb 24 17:06:13 AEDT 2012

Jan notes,
> http://www.9news.com/news/local/article/251421/346/More-Colorado
> students-attending-online-schools-
> DENVER - The State Capitol was packed Thursday with parents, students 
> and teachers there to show their support for online public education..
> Colorado's [34 'schools' - 15,000 across them = average 440/program.
> Not sure how that can be sustainable. It's certainly not efficient.
> What am I missing you guys who work in school education?]

I'm not convinced that the main American model by far for online school 
education is sustainable. It's a for-profit model with serious problems.

For example ..
1. "Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools"  www.nytimes.com

By almost every educational measure, the Agora Cyber Charter School is 

Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 
50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And 
hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within 
months after they enroll. 

By Wall Street standards, though, Agora is a remarkable success that has 
helped enrich K12 Inc., the publicly traded company that manages the 
school. And the entire enterprise is paid for by taxpayers. 

Agora is one of the largest in a portfolio of similar public schools 
across the country run by K12. Eight other for-profit companies also run 
online public elementary and high schools, enrolling a large chunk of the 
more than 200,000 full-time cyberpupils in the United States. 

The pupils work from their homes, in some cases hundreds of miles from 
their teachers. There is no cafeteria, no gym and no playground. Teachers 
communicate with students by phone or in simulated classrooms on the Web. 

Kids mean money. Agora is expecting income of $72 million this school 
year, accounting for more than 10 percent of the total anticipated 
revenues of K12, the biggest player in the online-school business.

The second-largest, Connections Education, with revenues estimated at 
$190 million, was bought this year by the education and publishing giant 
Pearson for $400 million. 

The business taps into a formidable coalition of private groups and 
officials promoting nontraditional forms of public 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. (and) a portrait emerges of a company that tries to squeeze 
profits from public school dollars by raising enrollment, increasing 
teacher workload and lowering standards ..

2. "Students of Online Schools Are Lagging"  www.nytimes.com

The number of students in virtual schools run by educational management 
organizations rose sharply last year, according to a new report being 
published Friday. 

And far fewer of them are proving proficient on standardized tests 
compared with their peers in other privately managed charter schools and 
in traditional public schools. 

About 116,000 students were educated in 93 virtual schools — those where 
instruction is entirely or mainly provided over the Internet — run by 
private management companies in the 2010-11 school year, up 43 percent 
from the previous year, according to the report being published by (the
University of Colorado). 

About 27 percent of these schools achieved “adequate yearly progress,” 
the key federal standard set forth under the No Child Left Behind act to 
measure academic progress. 

By comparison, nearly 52 percent of all privately managed brick-and-
mortar schools reached that goal, a figure comparable to all public 
schools nationally. 

“There’s a pretty large gap between virtual and brick-and-mortar,” said 
Gary Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement and research at 
Western Michigan University and a co-author of the study .. 


Message sent using MelbPC WebMail Server

More information about the Link mailing list