Two weeks ago, Lindsay Wagner posted the article “Report assails K12, Inc.-backed California virtual charter school for producing more dropouts than graduates” on the blog, The Progressive Pulse, of NC Policy Watch. The report blasts CAVA for producing graduation rates lower than California’s traditional public schools. CAVA graduated less than 50 percent of their students (except for 2013) compared to 80 percent for California’s public schools. Other criticisms in the report included low student attendance (sometimes as low as one minute a day), high salaries for top executives and low salaries for teachers (close to half of what the average teacher in California receives), and directing large amounts of revenue toward advertising and profit.
Based on CAVA’s low performance and graduation rates, some states are looking for alternativenon-traditional online options for children’s education and online learning programs. In December 2011, the California Charter Schools Association closed CAVA in Kern County due to its low renewal standards.Just recently, the NCAA announced it will no longer accept coursework from 24 virtual schools affiliated with K12. Last summer, Tennessee’s education commissioner ordered the closure of a struggling K12, Inc.-operated online school based on poor academic outcomes.
The full report can be read here -Virtual Public Education in California.
K12’s Standards Based Curriculum
The problem? K12 uses a standards based curriculum that doesn’t provide any tailoring or options for children. There are other online education and learning curriculum programs for homeschoolers, military families, expelled or suspended children, families who travel and others looking for an excellent alternative to traditional education through online learning.
Global Student Network provides six online curricula to meet different learning needs. When you match a learning style to a curriculum type, lower dropout rates and better scores on tests can be realized and achieved. The Global Student Network utilizes a mastery based type of curriculum. This means children must understand basic concepts taught in one level before they can move up to the next level of the curriculum. Students master important skills through multi-media presentations, interactive opportunities, off-line activities, quizzes and tests before moving forward. With this online curricula, both brick and mortar schools and homeschoolers have access to over 600 online courses for grades K-12 in six different learning programs.
Plato Learning – The Plato homeschool course provides a wide range of core subjects, electives, global languages, and honors classes for children in middle school all the way to high school with courses that cater to each of their learning styles. Students begin each unit in Plato with a pretest from which lessons and activities are generated based on their specific needs.
Apex Learning – The Apex program offers standards-based digital curriculum – in math, science, English, social studies, and world languages for original credit and credit recovery to meet high school requirements.
Odysseyware – The Odysseywareonline, web-based program for Grades 3-12includes the core subjects of social studies and history, math, language arts, and science, as well as a variety of electives.
A+Learning- For students in grades kindergarten to 12th grade, A+ delivers core curriculum aligned with national and state standards. Tailored to fit all learning styles, interests, & needs of students and families, A+ Courseware is a web-based, self-paced approach to digital learning.
GradPoint- GradPoint is an easy-to-use, cost-effective and comprehensive online learning solution for grades 6-12 to develop skills to succeed in high school, college and beyond using personalized learning options. The award-winning curriculum is aligned to state and Common Core State Standards and delivered on an award-winning, intuitive learning platform.
Christian Curriculum- Ignitia™ includes digital courses in five core subjects: Bible, math, science, language arts, and history and geography and a wide range of electives. Provides teacher, student, and administrative tools to streamline the academic process and promote individualized learning and digital literacy.
In addition to these programs used by homeschool families and schools looking for the best in online curriculum, GSN also offers a school-at-home option through International Virtual Learning Academy.
International Virtual Learning Academy is a fully accredited private online school for grades k-12 staffed by certified and highly qualified teachers. Like its GSN counterpart, families at IVLA can choose which curriculum is the best fit for their student. In addition to teacher-supported courses, IVLA also provides each student with a mentor who works closely with the family to track student progress. In addition, students in each mentor group meet regularly in a virtual classroom for collaborative learning opportunities.
Before eliminating online homeschooling based on the negative results of the K12 Inc. report, make sure you check out other online schools that offer multiple curriculum choices and mastery-based approaches.