The expansion of Cyber Schools is the result of a nationwide lobbying effort, marketed through the State Policy Network (SPN) and its state affiliates (including the Mackinac Center), using language written by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
(iNACOL is the trade association for K12 Inc and Connections (who operate the two Michigan cyber charter schools) and other virtual education companies.) “[iNACOL president Susan Patrick] visited SPN state groups and gave pep talks about how to sell the issue to lawmakers.” (Patrick spoke at the Mackinac Center sponsored Online Learning Revolution event at GVSU in November 2011.)How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools, The Nation, December 5, 2011
“ALEC, … coordinates a fifty-state strategy for right-wing policy. Special task forces composed of corporate lobbyists and state lawmakers write “template” legislation …Since 2005, ALEC has offered a template law called ‘The Virtual Public Schools Act’. Mickey Revenaugh, an executive at … Connections Learning, co-chairs the education policy–writing department of ALEC.”How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools, The Nation, December 5, 2011
“Jeb Bush campaigned vigorously in 2010 to expand such reforms … Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education is funded by online learning companies: K12 Inc., Pearson (which recently bought Connections Education), Apex Learning (a for-profit online education company launched by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen), Microsoft and McGraw-Hill Education among others.” [His foundation hosts the yearly National Summit on Education Reform:] “Throughout the day, lawmakers mingled with education-technology lobbyists from leading firms, like Apex Learning and K12 Inc. [The program included a session] called “Don’t Let a Financial Crisis Go to Waste” How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools, The Nation, December 5, 2011