UPDATE: See this article at DNA info about growing opposition from parents and elected officials to Flex charter school, and how the NY State Education Dept,. responsible for deciding whether to approve it, did not even show up at the mandated hearings.
- Flex intends to contract with K12 Inc. for curriculum, instruction, assessments and other services. K12 Inc. is the largest for-profit online charter chain in the nation, and has a poor record of results, as evidenced in a national study from respected researchers, and also in a major expose published in Business Week last week. In general, online learning for grades K-12 has little or no backing in the research.
- It is clear from their disclosure forms that prospective Flex board members were handpicked by K12 Inc. executives, a practice frowned upon by experts who promote greater charter accountability, including Greg Richmond, head of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.
- There are additional potential conflicts of interest in this application that cannot be ignored. The prospective board members claim that the school will have no contractual relationship with K12 Inc., apparently to evade the new state law that bans new charters managed by for-profit operations. At the same time, they write in their disclosure forms that for this reason, they do not have to reveal any financial interest in K12 Inc. or personal or financial relationship with the company and its employees.
- Unresolved problems related to the digital divide are also evident in the charter school’s application, and students who attend Flex will be severely disadvantaged if they have no access to the internet or computers to access their homework or lessons from home.
- The Flex application shows little or no outreach to the community and no evidence of community support, which is required by the new state law.