Putting Education Reform To The Test

Online Charter School Network Will Try Again Next Year In Three Districts


A screenshot of the Florida Virtual Academy website. The schools are affiliated with K12, Inc.

A network of online charter schools tied to education firm K12, Inc. will not seek to open schools in Marion, Orange and Seminole counties next year, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

A lawyer representing Florida Virtual Academy said the schools would not be able to open by next fall if the local school districts continued to oppose the schools. The charter schools plan to apply again in those districts.

The schools are operated by K12, Inc., the nation’s largest online education firm. The Florida Department of Education is investigating whether the company used improperly certified teachers to teach Florida students. Emails show Seminole County teachers refused to sign class rosters containing students they had not taught. K12 supervisors submitted the class rosters anyway.

K12 officials have said the conclusions by Seminole County investigators are incorrect.

The company has been criticized for high student-to-teacher ratios, for high turnover among its students and not reporting that students had dropped out in order to continue receiving funding.

Florida Virtual Academy is seeking to open a network of charter schools around the state. In many cases schools districts have opposed the online charter schools, but those decisions were overturned by the State Board of Education.

Pasco County’s school board recently dropped its opposition to Florida Virtual Academy’s application.

The network has one school open in Osceola County, where The Orlando Sentinel says enrollment has not met expectations. The network is planning to open schools in Broward, Duval and Palm Beach counties.

The schools are privately run, but publicly funded. Classes are taken online with a parent or another adult serving as the student’s learning coach.


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