Inside a Virtual Education Mill- Part 2

National Data on Growing Charter School control by CMOs (non-profit)  and EMOs (for-profit) management providers for years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010

If you want to know how sausage is made in a factory, you ask a laborer.  Not the CEO, who will tell you his product contains the finest ingredients, tastes the best and is good for you.  You ask the guy with his hands in the mix.

If you want to know how the 'sausage' is made at a for-profit education mill, don't ask the CEO.

Ask a teacher.

K-12, Inc. is the largest provider of 'virtual' charters, and is rumored to be 'given' 5 to run in New Jersey next year.  That remains to be seen.  What we do know is that K12, Inc. is wildly profitable, raking in over $522 in revenue in 2011.  Those are TAXPAYER dollars.  

But what are the internal values of the company, what are their goals?   Remember, our kids are their sausage.

The picture painted by K12's teachers, and a review of the investor and corporate governance documentation on their web site (such as a Compensation Charter which only addresses Executive packages and benefits) is one of corporate greed- focus on expansion and profits, with teachers at the bottom of the totem pole- expendable and barely compensated.  And little or poor communication between the top tier management (profit-makers) and the 'bottom' (educators).

Surprise, surprise. Top execs rake in millions, compensate management well, pay educators a pittance. That's where  EDUCATION tax dollars are going.

Below are comments by teachers currently employed by K12 posted on

For the purpose of full disclosure, GA has excerpted 'Cons'.   The comments are linked so you can see the "Pros' as well, which generally praised the 'mission', and the quality/ attitude of their co-workers.

This company is driven by profits vs providing a solid education to students. They are actively marketing to students who should not be schooled at home. Many students make little progress and have no learning coach supervision. Teachers are poorly paid yet the CEO doubled his salary last year. It is sinful! A teacher earns in the 30,000 range even with many years experience.

The administration is not honest with employees about the plans for the future. Diplomas are being granted for little to no work - 5-6 classes can earn a diploma. Certain employees are singled out and harassed. The company believes they can control every aspect of your life - i.e. who you speak to, honesty and thics with customers, etc. The promotions are going to people who worked for companies K12 bought without interviews or considering current K12 staff that have been loyal employees.

Quality of lessons has taken a huge downturn as the marketing team does a bait and switch with customers. The lessons they showed me in the interview are NOT the ones we are making today.

Leadership abuse the fact that the company provides quality education options for kids with statements that insinuate that employees should feel compensated by the product and services the company provides, while giving themselves gigantic bonuses, and tens of thousands of stock shares, in addition to huge raises. Then they've given everyone else a partial percentage of their bonus, no stocks, and no raises for the last two years.

Communication is dead. Emails go into a black hole with no response. Other employees seem to skirt responsibility by avoiding you, i.e. collaboration is non-existent. There are seemingly dozens of Vice Presidents, which dilutes the effects of leadership. Executives ignore employee feedback and avoid issues that everyone is disgruntled with, pretending that the issues will go away if ignored. Everyone is told that K12 can't afford to give raises, but it's well known that some people are getting them and it's a public company, we can all see the millions in cash the company is raking in. Most people haven't had a raise in three years while executives are reaping huge bonuses and giant salaries. 

Overall, the company culture is poisonous, although there are a few people who are a pleasure to work with. Money is wasted continuously (i.e. flying people all over the country when work can be done from the office), which frustrates people when they are told there is no money for even cost of living raises.

There's absolutely no training, no onboarding process, and no project management. Deadlines are unrealistic, there are too many meetings, and senior management is disengaged.

Executive mgt is like a private country club. One raise in last 4 years, bonus is a crap shoot every year regardless of company growth.
How do we stop these virtual for-profit education-mills from spreading into New Jersey?

You tell me, when the NJDOE is poised to change charter regulations and place the authority to open virtual charters at the sole discretion of the Education Commissioner.  Who appears to support them.

In the meantime, another EMO, Imagine Schools (No. 3 on the above list), just got kicked out of St. Louis, Missouri.

That's right.  Buh-bye

The Missouri Board of Education voted to close down ALL Charters run by this giant EMO because they were "under-performing":
The move follows months of increasing scrutiny of the schools' financial, leadership and academic problems. The schools are operated by Virginia-based Imagine Schools Inc., a for-profit charter school management company. Students enrolled at the schools make up about one-third of the city's charter school population.

State test results from 2011 showed that nearly all students at the city's Imagine schools were performing below grade level in reading and math, prompting St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Nicastro to call for the closure of the schools

On average, children at Imagine perform worse academically than those in the city's school system, which has shown steady gains in the last three years. Adams said he's not concerned that the Imagine students might hurt his district's attempts to regain accreditation.

Which means 3,500 kids  have to be 'transitioned' elsewhere for next September.  "Imagine" that.

 GA "Imagines" that the St. Louis public school district will absorb as many of these students return and wishes them success. 

I "Imagine" New Jersey is on Imagine School's radar.  No, thanks.


  1. Once Cerf has the agenda to allow for-profit companies approved (along with the right to open, close and transfer any charter school as he sees fit) you will see an explosion of k12, imagine schools and a host of other for-profit schools coming to NJ. There's too much money to be had.
    They already approved 5 virtual charter schools, one (underwraps) cmo and one (underwraps) Gulan school.
    These emos have heavy hedgefund and big named backers. Those same backers love to throw money at a candidate.

    To understand how little accountability there is for charter schools, Check out these schools- evey one of them failed and most spend more than their host district,these are a few in N J and there are scores more:;d=7503;s=970;d=6020;s=985;d=7210;s=940;d=7600;s=960;d=6020;s=985;d=7325;s=965;d=8065;s=980;d=8140;s=990;d=6010;s=910;d=6212;s=903;d=6024;s=906;d=6217;s=910;d=6325;s=915

    This is not about education- it's about making a buck off of the taxpayers. There are thousands of schools Nationwide that are run by emos and cmos. If this passes, You'll see them soon in Hoboken- 700 charter students and climbing- Yeah- we are ripe for take-over.


    "At stake: The state has already approved two online charter schools, both expected to open this fall. It also has approved three other so called blended or hybrid charter schools that mix online and in-person schooling. The nation’s largest online education firm, K12 Inc., is involved in four of the five programs."

    For-profit companies like k12 are not legal in NJ- but Cerf has approved it anyway.

    For perspective on the legislators putting businesses in in front of the homeowners/taxpayers, check this out:
    Notice that this is only for businesses?


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