The New York Observer recently published a piece about K12 and the education organization, Foundation for Excellence in Education. The author, Ari Rabin Havt, a senior fellow with Media Matters and co-author of a book charging that Fox News is a “propaganda machine,” is not what you would consider an impartial observer.
Nevertheless, prior to publication, I sent him detailed responses to questions about K12 with the outside hope that he would tell it straight. He did not. Instead, he drove his agenda; resurfacing old claims but leaving on the cutting room floor the key facts and information that did not fit his narrative.
Let me fill in what he left out:
On Florida: An IG report concluded that a claim made about K12 teachers was unfounded; teachers were state-certified. Other school districts found K12 was in full compliance. K12 is a state-approved online learning provider in Florida and serves over 50 school districts in the state.
On teacher grading: The author seemed fixated on substantiating a “grade fixing” story in Tennessee that was completely debunked by the school’s teachers. Just because the local news station that originally broadcast the report would not correct the story on its website – what a surprise! – doesn’t change the fact that it was a manufactured and bogus story.
On NCAA: NCAA has its own standards for nontraditional courses. However, these standards are not based on outputs (course completion, grades, end of course exams, course content, or other measures of competency), but rather on inputs – i.e. the way in which an online course is delivered. Digital Learning experts have criticized this approach. K12 is nationally accredited by AdvanceED. Its partner schools are state-approved and accredited, and offer courses that are universally accepted by colleges and universities including top Ivy League schools.
On Academics: The author relies heavily on an old report from National Education Policy Center (NEPC), an organization that collaborates with the powerful teachers unions and is hostile to charter schools. This report has been criticized for using deeply flawed data. I sent him the most complete and accurate collection of data on performance of K12 partner schools, but he must have never looked at it or simply dismissed altogether. But it’s all there. You can find K12’s annual Academic Reports on our website along with other reports and white papers that show academic trends are improving at K12-partner schools -- better overall outcomes, improved student proficiency rates over time, success in closing achievement gaps, etc. Take a look for yourself here.