Friday, August 23, 2013

K12 Go Away

Because I travel to plenty of ed sites, the internet is sure that I want to see plenty of ads about K12 and their awesome free on line schooling.

On the one hand, cool, because every ad they show me they pay for, and advertising K12 to me is a waste of their money.

Except, of course, that the money they're wasting is my tax money. The money they're wasting on radio spots and tv ads and big billboards is my tax money.

K12's ads are a great expression of the belief in free government money. The cyber-schools are advertised as free (and include a free computer!!) which is unvarnished baloney.

Aided by the legislature in Harrisburg, cyber-schools are bleeding local school district dry. They highlight one of the major flaws in school choice and its variations (of which cyber schools are just one)-- these kind of choice plans disenfranchise all the taxpayers in a school district who don't have children there.

Are you someone with grown children who wants to see your school district keep neighborhood schools open, because it's good for the community and it provides a solid education? Well, too bad. In many school districts, a handful of parents get to decide that the school should be closed because they want their child to attend the free school on the free computer.

In PA the problem is seriously exacerbated because of our crazy-pants formula assumes that if one student leaves a classroom, suddenly it's cheaper to operate that classroom, as if the light, heat, teacher, bussing, and other fixed costs are reduced. Meanwhile, the competing cyber-school business is paid vastly more than the cost of providing their service. I tried to think of an analogy for this, but it is so flipping insane that there isn't one. No wonder investors are getting into the cyber-school business-- it's like printing money. It's like running a used car lot where the customer hands you a filled out check and you give them whatever car you feel like giving them.

So, K12, no, I'm not interested. You aren't free, you aren't public, and for many , many students, you aren't even an education. Go away, and give me my tax dollars back.

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