Monday, September 30, 2013

Gregg Fleisher, Chief Academic Officer of the National Math and Science Initiative, on K12

Re. K12, my friend Gregg Fleisher (, Chief Academic Officer of the National Math and Science Initiative, wrote:


Actually appreciated the you made public that you shorted the stock. I don’t think anyone who knows you at all, or even people who don’t know you and just read your blog would think that your passionate disapproval for K12 is driven by personal financial gain.


We’ve done a lot of work reviewing and have a lot of data on online education programs. Some do have some decent student outcomes for students who are not traditionally underrepresented, but only when supplemented with other materials, or used as a supplement. But most don’t show significant student outcomes at all.


More importantly, we have not seen any online learning used as a standalone that has had student outcomes for traditionally underrepresented students. Some online learning does work for traditionally underrepresented students with the support of a teacher if it’s used as a supplement. For example, some great schools that serve traditionally underrepresented students use Dreambox Learning for their youngest students. It’s great math software, but to get the desired student outcomes, one can’t just turn it over to a student without proper, immediate guidance to make sure the student stays on track. 


Everyone knows that online education is here to stay. It can be done right for traditionally underrepresented students, but only with the guidance of a teacher. We’ve done a lot of research on this and believe we know the market. Nobody has made us rethink our stance yet.  


If anyone reading your blog has data that shows online learning works for traditionally underrepresented students, especially in math and science, we’d love to check them out and potentially partner with them.

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