In the digital age, education has evolved beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms. One such innovation is the K12 online school, a platform that offers a comprehensive and flexible learning experience. But what exactly is K12 online school, and how does it work? Let's delve into it.
Understanding K12 Online School
K12 Online School, now known as Stride, Inc., is a for-profit education company that provides online and blended education programs. It serves as an education management organization (EMO) that offers online education as an alternative to traditional education for public school students from kindergarten to 12th grade. As of 2012, Stride, Inc. was the largest EMO
in terms of enrollment.
History of K12 Online School
The company was founded in 2000 by former banker Ronald J. Packard. Initial investors included notable figures such as Michael R. Milken and Lowell Milken of education company Knowledge Universe, Andrew Tisch of the Loews Corporation, and Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation. It became a publicly traded company in 2007.
The Leadership of K12 Online School
The company's leadership has seen several changes over the years. William Bennett, Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, served as the company's first chairman of the board until 2005. In 2018, Stuart Udell resigned from his role as CEO, and Nate Davis, the previous CEO, replaced him. As of 2021, James J. Rhyu serves as the CEO, with Davis remaining as executive chairman of the board.
The Offerings of K12 Online School
Stride, Inc. operates as a for-profit EMO, providing online curriculum to homeschooled children and other schools. It offers its online curriculum at three levels: to states and districts as a homeschooling alternative to brick-and-mortar schools, to school districts as a supplement to classroom teaching, and to parents individually as a private, online, homeschooling alternative.
Stride competes with non-profit educational organizations known as charter management organizations (CMOs) that typically run brick-and-mortar schools. The company manages state-funded virtual charter schools and hybrid schools in twenty-nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Stride's product line includes courses for pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school grades, online learning platforms, and educational software. All courses provided by Stride Inc. are delivered through Brightspace, a D2L platform. The curriculum includes core subject areas: math, science, language arts, history, art, music, and world languages.
The Branding of K12 Online School
State and District Sponsored Homeschooling
Stride develops identities for specific opportunities. For instance, it has operated the Tennessee Virtual Academy since 2011 and the Insight Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.
Private Online K-12 Schools
Stride, Inc. operates three online private schools: K12 Private Academy, George Washington University Online High School, and the Keystone School.
Stride, Inc. offers career and technical education programs at public schools, called Destinations Career Academies and Programs to students in grades 9–12.
The Assessment of K12 Online School
The performance of Stride and other for-profit virtual schools is regularly evaluated by the National Education Policy Center. However, the performance of K12 schools has been a subject of debate, with critics pointing out lower performance in math and English compared to their district and state counterparts.
Lobbying Efforts and Controversies
K12 has been known to invest in advertising and lobbying state officials. The company and its employees contributed nearly $500,000 to state political candidates from 2004 to 2010. However, these efforts have not been without controversy, with critics questioning the company's performance and standards.
K12 Online School, now Stride, Inc., has made significant strides in the field of online education. Despite facing criticism and controversies, it continues to offer a flexible and comprehensive learning experience to students across various grades. As the digital age progresses, platforms like K12 Online School will continue to play a crucial role in shaping the future of education.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is K12 Online School? K12 Online School, now known as Stride, Inc., is a for-profit education company that provides online and blended education programs for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
- Who founded K12 Online School? K12 Online School was founded by former banker Ronald J. Packard in 2000.
- What kind of curriculum does K12 Online School offer? K12 Online School offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes courses for pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school grades, online learning platforms, and educational software.
- What are the criticisms of K12 Online School? Critics of K12 Online School point out lower performance in math and English compared to their district and state counterparts. There have also been concerns about the company's lobbying efforts and standards.
- What are the private online K-12 schools operated by Stride, Inc.? Stride, Inc. operates three online private schools: K12 Private Academy, George Washington University Online High School, and the Keystone School.