Guest Blog Post on Education Week
"15 Months in Virtual Charter Hell: A Teacher's Tale"
Published on www.edweek.org by Anthony Cody on January 6, 2014
Guest post by Darcy Bedortha:
In late August, 2012, I took a job in a school that is part of the largest virtual charter school chain in the nation. While I had misgivings about the nature of the school, I thought perhaps if I were diligent, I could serve my students well. In November 2013 I decided I could no longer continue as a teacher. This is my story.
Some Background on K12 Inc.
K12 Inc., the virtual-education company, was founded in 1999 by the one-time "junk bond king" Michael Milken and the hedge fund banker Ronald Packard. The company's original board chairman was William J. Bennett, who had been the U.S. Secretary of Education under President Ronald Reagan. (Bennett resigned from his position with K12 Inc. in 2005 after sparking controversy by stating that the U.S. crime rate would go down if more African-American babies were aborted.)
As a private company founded by financiers, K12 Inc. is highly profit-driven. Though its stock price has apparently taken a hit recently, there is little doubt that K12 Inc. has been quite successful in bringing in revenue--even as regular public schools have faced dire financial straits. According to the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch, Packard, who is the current CEO, earned $19 million in compensation from 2009-2013. In 2013 alone, as Chicago closed 50 of its public schools and Philadelphia closed 23 more, K12 Inc. brought in a whopping $730.8 million in taxpayer dollars from its managed public schools, and its top executives saw their compensation skyrocket by 96 percent.
My Life as a Virtual Teacher
I became a teacher because I am an advocate for youth and social justice. However, this purpose was hard to fulfill working in a K12 Inc. school....read the rest of Darcy's story HERE.