The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced that it will no longer accept coursework for student-athletes obtained at any of 24 virtual schools across the country affiliated with parent company K12, Inc.
To be eligible to participate in NCAA activities, student-athletes must meet minimum academic requirements. On its own website, the NCAA released an official statement about the decision:
Today the NCAA announced that 24 schools which use a company called K12 Inc. to provide their curriculum were no longer approved. All of the schools are nontraditional high schools, and their courses were found to not comply with the NCAA’s nontraditional course requirements.
As a result, the NCAA will stop accepting coursework from these schools starting with the 2014–15 school year. Coursework completed from Spring 2013 through Spring 2014 will undergo additional evaluation on a case-by-case basis when a prospect tries to use it for initial eligibility purposes. Coursework completed in Fall 2012 or earlier may be used without additional evaluation.
In addition to the 24 schools, other schools affiliated with K12 Inc. remain under Extended Evaluation. This means the NCAA will continue to review coursework coming from those schools to see whether it meets the NCAA’s core course and nontraditional course requirements. Prospects with coursework from those schools must submit additional documentation no matter when the coursework was completed.
On her blog, educational activist Diane Ravitch wrote that the move by the NCAA is an enormous blow against for-profit educational companies like K12.
This is huge. All of these virtual schools are highly profitable. The K12 corporation, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, receives full tuition for each student; the district loses the tuition, and the student gets a computer and textbooks. K12 is known to have a high dropout rate and low graduation rates. This is the first time that a major accrediting body has rejected the education offered by K12 and declared that its credits were unacceptable.
The schools in question include 11 versions of the California Virtual Academy; the San Francisco Flex Academy; Silicon Valley Flex Academy; Colorado Virtual Academy; Georgia Cyber Academy; Nevada Virtual Academy; Ohio Virtual Academy; Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy; South Carolina Virtual Charter; Washington Virtual Academy; Agora Cyber Charter School located in Pennsylvania, Insight School of Colorado; Insight School of Washington and IQ Academy Washington.
This is not K12’s first run-in with trouble. According to an article written by Lindsay Wagner for The Progressive Pulse, K12 has had to deal with reports that it one of its schools outsourced the grading of papers to a company in India; as well as other school districts closing partnerships with the company; graduation rates as low as 33% and reports of teachers lacking proper certification credentials.
K12 is based in Virginia and currently operates online schools in 32 states.