Saturday, March 9, 2013

Collection of articles on Pennsylvania cybers and charters, including some additional history on K12, Inc. and Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby’s involvement with them.


 Here’s a collection of articles on Pennsylvania cybers and charters, followed by some additional history on K12, Inc. and Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby’s involvement with them.
March 9, 2013

PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.
Auditor General: Fixing PA Charter Formula Could Save $365M/year

PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.
$4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight

PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.
FBI, IRS Raid Offices of Cyberschool Pioneer Trombetta.

Millions flow to Beaver County-based PA Cyber School's spinoffs

By Rich Lord and Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 15, 2012 12:04 am
The Beaver County-based Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, which was searched by federal agents Thursday, pays tens of millions of dollars a year to a network of nonprofit and for-profit companies run by former executives of the state's largest online public school.

Cyber-school empire under attack
Beaver County educator fighting grand juries, suits and legislators
By Jonathan D. Silver / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 18, 2007 12:00 am
In the past seven years, Nicholas Trombetta has climbed from small-town Beaver County school administrator to the head of a sprawling educational network fueled by millions of taxpayer dollars.

PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.
Agora founder seeks to delay defamation suit

PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.
Follow the Money: Contributions by Vahan Gureghian 

PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.
Shameless; just (expletive deleted) shameless

PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.

K12, Inc. Profits and Questions


PA Charter Schools: Publicly funded without public accountability.
K12 Inc. CEO paid $5M compensation package in 2011

Pa.'s education secretary resigns Charles Zogby, who engineered the state takeover of Phila. schools, is joining a Virginia company.
By Ovetta Wiggins and Dale Mezzacappa INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
POSTED: December 18, 2002
Pennsylvania Education Secretary Charles Zogby, who engineered the state takeover of the Philadelphia School District, created one of the nation's first cyber charter schools, and implemented controversial standards for teachers and students, resigned yesterday to join a for-profit online education company.  Zogby, often criticized for his efforts to change education, many of which centered on privatization, ends an eight-year tenure with the administrations of Gov. Schweiker and former Gov. Tom Ridge. He will become a senior vice president of education and policy at K12, a Virginia-based company. He will leave his post Jan. 3.

New groups express interest in running Phila. schools

By Dale Mezzacappa INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: April 17, 2003
The School Reform Commission made public yesterday the names of seven groups that would like to manage Philadelphia public schools or contribute educational services. Included are two local universities, two nonprofits and three for-profit companies.
Among the latter is K12, whose vice president for policy and education is former Pennsylvania Education Secretary Charles Zogby. As the chief education policymaker under Govs. Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker, Zogby was the driving force that made Philadelphia the nation's largest laboratory for outside and for-profit school management.

“Co-founded by Ronald Reagan-era Secretary of Education William Bennett, K12 has some 27,000 students and revenue last year of more than $116 million, according to the prospectus.
In addition to Bennett, other former public officials hired by the company include Charles Zogby, former Pennsylvania secretary of education, and Sandy Kress, one of the architects of the federal government's No Child Left Behind law.”
Officials who paved way for online schools now work for them
Puget Sound Business Journal By Clay Holtzman
Staff Writer Sept. 9, 2007
When two companies came to Washington in 2005 to open online public schools, they used a tried-and-true strategy to gain a toehold in the state: Ask influential locals to open doors.
The approach worked. As classes resume for the online schools' second year, the companies have enrolled twice as many students as last year.
K12 Inc. and Insight Schools Inc. together are receiving at least $9 million in state tax money this year to run the online programs, in which students work at home on computers instead of attending classes in school buildings.
Three locals -- two state lawmakers and a school superintendent -- who played key roles in helping start Washington's online schools are now working for the companies running them.
There is nothing illegal or unethical in getting officials to facilitate introductions or recruiting them after the fact, according to experts. But the story of how privately run, online schools came to Washington provides a glimpse inside their growing interplay with public education.

The Future of Education
WITF Written by Nancy Rybacki
Feb 25, 2010 4:52 PM
Our guests include Dr. William Harner, superintendent of the Cumberland Valley School District, and Charles Zogby, senior vice president of k12 Inc., the nation’s largest provider of online curricula, programs and services.  Zogby is a former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education who oversaw the state takeover of the Philadelphia School District during the Ridge/Schweiker administrations.  In an email he explained K12’s mission,  “At its core, K12 Inc. is an education curriculum company that has built an Internet-, research-, and standards-based curriculum for grades K-12.  Our curriculum is a blend of both traditional materials (textbooks, novels, science equipment, art supplies - all traditional materials and learning approaches) as well as online lessons delivered through an Online School that is supported by a robust learning management system."  Two online charter schools in Pennsylvania - The Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School and Agora Cyber Charter School - use k12's curricula.

Ex-workers claim operator of cyber-charters played games with enrollment figures
January 21, 2013
WHYY Newsworks By Benjamin Herold
Dozens of former employees claim that K12 Inc, a for-profit education company, used dubious and sometimes fraudulent tactics to mask astronomical rates of student turnover in its national network of cyber charter schools.
K12 manages Agora, the second largest cyber charter in Pennsylvania. The company is also involved in pending applications to open two new cybers in the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Education is expected to decide on the proposals later this month.
The former employees allege that K12-managed schools aggressively recruited children who were ill-suited for the company's model of online education. They say the schools then manipulated enrollment, attendance and performance data to maximize tax-subsidized per-pupil funding.
These claims by anonymous "confidential witnesses" are spelled out in court documents filed last June as part of a class-action lawsuit by the company's investors.

“In Pennsylvania, where K12 Inc. collects about 10 percent of its revenues, the company has spent $681,000 on lobbying since 2007. The company also has friends in high places.Charles Zogby, the state’s budget secretary, had been senior vice president of education and policy for K12. In a statement, Mr. Zogby said he still owned a small number of K12 shares, but did not make decisions specifically affecting online schools.”
Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools
New York Times By STEPHANIE SAUL  Published: December 12, 2011
By almost every educational measure, the Agora Cyber Charter School is failing.  Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within months after they enroll.  By Wall Street standards, though, Agora is a remarkable success that has helped enrich K12 Inc., the publicly traded company that manages the school. And the entire enterprise is paid for by taxpayers.











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