Saturday, January 9, 2021

CURMUDGUCATION: Watch Out: K12 Has Changed Its Name

CURMUDGUCATION: Watch Out: K12 Has Changed Its Name
Watch Out: K12 Has Changed Its Name

Back in November, when most of us were pre-occupied with a few other things, K12, Inc, the giant cyber-school company, went and gave itself a new name-- Stride, Inc. The rebranding came with some new acquisitions, but underneath it all, K12 is its same old self.

K12 is a big fat for-profit cyber-edu-biz operation-- in fact, the biggest and fattest. They were founded by Goldman-Sachs banker and McKinsey alum Ronald Packer with financial backing from junk bond king Michael Milken, who Wikipedia calls "convicted felon, financier and philanthropist (and, fun fact, he was pardoned by Donald Trump in February of 2020). Andrew Tische (Loews) and Larry Elison (Oracle) also tossed some venture capital in the kitty. Oh, and Dick DeVos, too. K12 was launched in 2000, with William Bennett as the public-facing face of the company. Packer is still the CEO of the company.

You'll note that  none of the top names in the company have actual education expertise, but that's okay, because K12 is a for-profit company that sells an education-flavored product, not an actual school.

Over the years, K12 has been caught in all manner of naughty behavior. Here's a fairly brutal shot they took from the New York Times way back in December of 2011 detailing how K12's schools are failing miserably, but still making investors and officers a ton of money. Former teachers routinely write tell-alls about their experience, like this more recent guest piece on Anthony Cody's blog. In 2012. Florida caught them using fake teachers. The NCAA put K12 schools on the list of cybers that were disqualified from sports eligibility. In 2014, Packard turned out to be one of the highest paid public workers in the country (as in, people paid with tax dollars) in the country, "despite the fact that only 28% of K12 schools met state standards in 2011-2012."

That low level of achievement is the norm-- so much the norm that even the bricks and mortar CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: Watch Out: K12 Has Changed Its Name