Online learning provider K12 faces class-action lawsuit

  • Teachers: The stories in the Times article are atypical and misleading. K12-affiliated schools have multiple applicants for every teaching job, and few teachers leave voluntarily. Despite all of the sophisticated technology, teachers remain the most important part of student learning in virtual schools associated with K12. A school’s overall student-to-teacher ratio is determined by the public school boards and their budgets, not K12. The school cited in the Times article, Agora Cyber Charter School, has a total student-to-certified teaching staff of 25 to 1, not 250 to 1 as the Times suggested.
  • Ease of virtual schooling: The article implies that virtual schooling is easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the main reasons parents cite for leaving a K12-affiliated school is because of the rigor and time commitment. Schools can improve their retention by “dumbing down” the curriculum, but this is something K12 would never even consider.
  • Savings to taxpayers and cost: Virtual schools are a significant savings to taxpayers, as they are reimbursed, on average, 60 percent of the per-pupil funding received by traditional schools on a per-pupil basis. To imply that a full-time public virtual school costs only $1,000 per pupil to operate is ridiculous. Teachers alone cost significantly more than that per child. K12 did not have income of $72M from Agora. K12’s global net income last year was only $12.8M.
  • Compliance with attendance: Virtual schools managed by K12 comply with all state laws and regulations and are regularly audited. Attendance regulations vary from state to state. The online schools follow all state policies and procedures and work closely with the state to ensure accuracy of attendance records and full compliance. The K12 software gives teachers and administrators visibility into student engagement in the lessons and material on a daily basis.
  • A full list of K12’s point-by-point defense against the Times article can be found here (PDF). Agora’s response can be found here.

    The class action lawsuit was filed by the Shuman Law Firm on behalf of plaintiff David Hoppaugh of Cado Parish, La., who purchased shared of K12 between December 2010 and July 2011. The plaintiff, who wants a jury trial, is seeking compensatory damages and legal costs for himself and other shareholders.

    Want to share a great resource? Let us know at