Trump's Ed Secretary Betsy DeVos touts online learning and cyber charter schools as a viable alternative to public schools. But her support for these virtual schools and the private companies that run them, may have more to do with her and her husband's investment portfolio than with any positive results for students.
This from Politico:
K12 is the company DeVos and her husband had an “investment interest” in, according to paperwork released in 2006 by her husband’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in Michigan. A DeVos spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the size of the investment, which is not listed as current in her federal disclosure forms.She and her husband invested in virtual school powerhouse K12 Inc. before she became secretary. At least two of the school choice groups DeVos helped found, Great Lakes Education Project and the American Federation for Children, pushed for virtual charters — including in DeVos’ home state of Michigan.
But while cyber school companies generally are reaping big profits, K12 Inc. stock has been a bust.
As for measurable student learning, the cyber schools' results in state after state, from Florida to Pennsylvania, have lagged far behind face-to-face public schools.
In Pennsylvania, where more than 30,000 kids are enrolled in virtual charter schools, the graduation rate is a dismal 48 percent. Not one virtual charter school meets the state’s “passing” benchmark. And the founder of one of the state’s largest virtual schools pleaded guilty to a tax crime last year.
K12 Inc. in particular, has been a sewer of corruption since it was founded by former GOP education sec William Bennett. The company was forced to remove Bennett as chairman of its directors following a series of racist remarks and gambling scandals which threatened the company's marketability.
K12 Inc. has been under investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, which has been looking into K12's involvement in a project that received an improper multimillion-dollar grant from the Department of Education during Bennett's tenure at the firm.