K12 primarily serves home schoolers and requires a significant amount of parental guidance when properly implemented. Its K-8 program provides comprehensive instruction in math and English/Language Arts (plus history, science, music, art, and foreign languages) through a network of online schools. K12 online courses are available for purchase to individuals and institutions. The majority of implementations, however, are in the form of online public schools which are tuition-free and provide loaner computers to students in many cases. These partner schools are accredited/approved by their respective states, and fall under the rules, regulations, and best practices dictated by K12 -- similar to a franchise model.
This relationship between K12 and its partner schools includes all the components necessary to build and maintain an online school such as administrative services, teacher training, recruiting, and counseling. A select number of partner schools have also implemented K12 in a hybrid model, where students work on K12 in an open area, and receive 1:1 or small group instruction from teachers in a face-to-face setting.
In late 2011, newspapers including the Washington Post and New York Times ran articles critical of online programs such as K12. (See: Virtual Schools are multiplying but some question their educational value and Virtually Educated.)
Fans of the program, including many parents who felt their children were bullied in school or subject to neglect or abuse, were expressed their feelings on K12's Facebook page.
In September 2012, a detailed report by an investigative blog, The Financial Investigator, charged that the company had told Florida regulators that certified teachers were running its online classes.
"From the moment it secured its contract to run Seminole County’s Virtual Instruction Program in early 2009, K12 represented to Florida Department of Education officials that courses offered in a fast-growing virtual school were taught by certified teachers.
"In many cases they were not.
The writer sought comment from a K12 spokesman.
"Jeff Kwitowski, a spokesman for K12, was emailed a copy of the Seminole County investigation and asked for comment. His reply, via E-mail, took exception to Seminole County’s assertions.
“K12 has been working closely with the Florida Department of Education and Inspector General’s office on the issues discussed in the documents. K12 does not believe that allegations of any kind of violation are accurate. Because K12 is continuing to work with state officials on these issues, further comment would be inappropriate until that work is complete.”
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