Earlier this month, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and StateImpact Florida reported on the state Department of Education’s investigation of K12, the nation’s largest online educator with business in 43 Florida school districts. In a joint investigation, FCIR and StateImpact Florida disclosed how K12 allegedly used improperly certified teachers and asked employees to cover up the practice.
After publication of the story — which ran in the Miami Herald, The Ledger in Lakeland, and the Star-Banner in Ocala, among other state newspapers — K12’s stock price dropped 13 percent in trading and public school districts in Brevard and Volusia launched internal reviews of the for-profit online educator’s records.
Follow-up reports from FCIR and StateImpact Florida revealed that K12’s student-teacher ratios are as high as 275-to-1, according to internal company records, and that few Florida school districts are able to check for problems with K12.
Responses to the FCIR-StateImpact investigation of K12 have come from around the state and across the country:
- Reuters followed up in a story published in newspapers nationwide.
- Education Week posted a lengthy blog item about the reporting.
- News outlets in Iowa, North Carolina and Maine, where K12 was already under scrutiny, picked up the story and gave it local context.
- Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm said the K12 revelations should be reason to be skeptical of for-profit online education, and Sun Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo described the FCIR-StateImpact Florida story about K12’s student-teacher ratios as a “blistering expose.” Mayo also cited FCIR-StateImpact Florida’s reporting in a subsequent column about online schools in Broward County.
- Television stations in the Tampa Bay area, Central Florida and Tallahassee all aired stories citing FCIR-StateImpact Florida’s reporting.
- A New York law firm announced its intention to represent investors in suing K12 for damages due in part to the company’s problems in Florida.
FCIR and StateImpact Florida will continue to report on K12. Help support this type of journalism by making a donation today.