What Will Happen to FLDOE Investigation of K12 Inc When Tony Bennett Arrives?


A glimpse at John O’Connor’s StateImpact review of 2012’s top stories reminds readers of the ongoing investigation of online education giant K12 Inc by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) for irregularities in Seminole County.

State investigating K12 — In September we told you the Florida Department of Education was investigating K12, Inc., the nation’s largest online education company.

Emails between K12 officials and teachers suggested the company had asked teachers to sign off on Seminole County students they had not taught. The emails raised questions about whether K12 was using teachers properly certified according to Florida law.

We also told you how K12 service plans include student-to-teacher rations of 275-to-1 and how school districts have found problems with a network of online charter schools tied to K12 applying around Florida.

The story broke in September, only a month after then education commissioner Gerard Robinson resigned. At the time the FDOE investigation began, no one could imagine that the next education commissioner would be former Indiana state superintendent Tony Bennett. The FLDOE has been silent on the investigation, but Bennett’s appointment brings a clear conflict of interests.

The media is only beginning to realize that Bennett brings baggage with him from Indiana. Gradebook’s Jeff Solochek picked up on my look at the state board of education members who hired him and also donated to Bennett as a Indiana candidate for office.  Bennett received several other contributions from education corporations who do business in Florida which he will oversee as education commissioner.  One of those conflicts has arrived. K12 Inc  made two $5000 to Bennett’s campaign,  once in 2011 and again in 2012.

The FLDOE will have to wrap up its investigation and announce it’s findings of K12 Inc before Bennett assumes control of the department in two weeks. If not, the investigation will need to be turned over to another department. To do otherwise will bring critical scrutiny to not only Bennett, but also upon the state board and an embattled FLDOE that doesn’t need the drama.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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4 Responses to What Will Happen to FLDOE Investigation of K12 Inc When Tony Bennett Arrives?

  1. Diane Kepus says:

    HAHAHAHAHA! I can’t help it Bob! Baggage – he is collateral baggage and with him comes all the education money evil Gods and he will do whatever they tell him to do. He and the rest all have the protection of the Florida State legislature and the State School Board who are also dancing to the Jeb Bush/Bill Gates tune to ruin our children.

    America if you are going to place bets on your future make sure whomever you are betting on is also a Freedom fighting American – not a deceitful, lying false idol who is peddling his goods!

    Good article!

  2. Bennett wanted all Hoosiers students to take at least one on-line class before graduation. His campaign was also funded by K12, conincidently.

  3. DrT says:

    Bennett, a conflict of interest??? REALLYY??? (inject heavy dose of sarcasm with this)

    Tony Bennett is the definition of conflict of interest! His office reported false attendance data for Indianapolis Public Schools in order to channel $6 million EXTRA dollars to a private for-profit charter school company after he had awarded that company the contract to run IPS as a “state take-over” school. That company had donated to his campaign… go figure!!

    TB also award HUGE contracts for NEW tests for both students and teacher licensure candidates to Pearson Publishing… a FAT exclusive contract for ALL the tests to pad the contract for being heavily favored in textbook adoption. Pearson was a major donor in Bennett’s campaign… Hmmm, I see a pattern!

    Do not doubt that K12 was a STRONG supporter of Tony Bennett in the decision to select him to run Florida schools!! Yep, K12 is another donor to Bennett’s campaign… just as was Jeb Bush, the man who pushed for Bennett to get the Florida job!

    Tony Bennett is quick to sell his patronage to the highest bidder – not bids to support schools, but bids to support HIM.

    Now you can expect K12 to do all in their power to delay the investigation until after their boy Tony takes charge.

  4. Just another example of what K12 has been up to: http://newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/49878-k12cyber21?Itemid=1&linktype=hp_featured

    Disgusting. This is what happens with a business model of education. All about profit, not about kids. Not like we ever doubted that..

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