In recent years, a small but fast-growing number of parents seeking alternatives to traditional schooling have fostered a new industry: virtual public schools.

These publicly financed distance-learning alternatives are essentially charter schools in cyberspace. Yet, so far, just one company is winning strong marks for capitalizing on this movement: the Herndon, Va.-based K12.

The education-software maker just went public in December. It sells online curricula and management services to 32 virtual public schools in more than a dozen states including Pennsylvania, Texas and Colorado. The bull case for K12 is in its growth prospects, as more parents look beyond the traditional...

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