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K12 still atoning for Bill Bennett's sins

We’re several months removed from Bill Bennett’s AM radio snafu, but that’s still not enough distance for some folks.  (In case you were living under a rock at the time, go here for more on the unfortunate episode.)  What was apparently lost in the mayhem of the moment is that Bennett certainly paid a price with one of his projects: he ended up resigning from K12, the educompany he helped start in 1999.  But even though K12 has completely parted ways with Bennett, that’s not enough for some folks:

K12 Inc., the science-curriculum company whose founder, former education secretary William J. Bennett, drew fire last fall for suggesting that aborting black babies would reduce crime, is on the verge of losing its $3 million contract with the School District of Philadelphia.

Following yesterday’s School Reform Commission meeting, SRC members and sources told the Daily News that the K12 contract would not be renewed. Under the contract, the school district must tell the McLean, Va., company what it intends to do by May 1 – one month before the contract is set to expire.

Two of the five members of the reform commission – Martin Bednarek and Sandra Dungee Glenn – said they will not support renewing the arrangement, which requires the company to supply science-curriculum materials to each district elementary school.

A high-ranking school district source confirmed that SRC Chairman James Nevels "is strongly inclined not to renew the K12 contract."

After the near-riot last November when the district agreed to retain the contract (see the article), it’s not altogether surprising.  The company’s line:

Ron Packard, K12’s chairman and co-founder, said he was surprised and saddened by some members’ statements because principals and teachers rave about the company’s curriculum.

He said Bennett was forced out shortly after making the remarks, so K12 should not be punished.

"Whatever happens, the real losers are the schools and the kids," Packard said. "It would be a sad day when a company that has delivered as we have delivered has its contract not renewed."

Let’s leave it to others to debate Bennett’s remarks.  The thing is, it’s not about him anymore.  He’s no longer with K12–what else can the company do, perform some sort of exorcism?  Bottom line: it would be one thing had K12 failed to deliver on the contract.  The people in Philly are more concerned with making a statement than making a difference for their kids.