New K12 Poll: More American Parents Customize Their Coffee Than Their Child's Education

February 26, 2013
Industry Leader K12 Comments on Poll Findings as Online Education Gains Mainstream Acceptance

HERNDON, Va., Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As online education gains acceptance and becomes more mainstream, individualized learning in pre-kindergarten through high school is expected to become more the norm, as it has in other sectors, including retail, banking, healthcare and entertainment.  According to a new K12 Inc.-commissioned study conducted online in February by Harris Interactive among more than 2,200 U.S. adults, nearly nine-in-ten parents (86%) with a child between the ages 6–17 say they customize some aspect of their lives, including the way they shop, bank, and watch television; however, only 29% customize their child's schooling.


Key K12 Survey Findings

In rank order[1], U.S. adults ages 18+ who are parents to at least one child between the ages of 6–17 customize their:

#1.  SHOPPING (e.g., in store, online, via catalog) – 61%

#2.  BANKING (e.g., through a mobile device, with teller, ATM) – 58%

#3.  TV (e.g., broadcast, streamed, recorded for delayed viewing) – 58%

#4.  COFFEE (e.g., flavor shots, roast strength, size, blend, sweeteners, milk/creamers) – 39%

#5.  CHILD'S SCHOOLING (e.g., choose a school other than the one their child is assigned to, modify their child's daily schedule and lessons according to the child's strengths, weaknesses and learning style) – 29%

In commenting on the poll findings, Ron Packard, CEO and founder of K12 Inc., a leading provider of technology-powered individualized learning, said, "It's interesting that when it comes to one of the most important decisions we can make as parents, we don't consider ourselves consumers. It seems we spend more time customizing the way we view sitcoms and order coffee than we do exploring how best to optimize our child's education—not because we're bad parents—but because we're conditioned to accept the status quo. Often, we don't know all the ways we can adjust our child's public school education so that it becomes more individualized and effective," Packard said.

K12 pioneered the idea of a child-centered, individualized education delivered online with expert teachers and a powerful partnership with parents, states and school districts. The K12Program is offered through K12partner public schools in more than two-thirds of states and the District of Columbia, and through private schools serving students in all 50 states and 85 countries. View a map of K12's full-time online and blended education offerings by state. K12 also offers high quality, engaging online courses across multiple academic levels including Advanced Placement (AP) to schools, districts, and families to supplement students' traditional course taking. 

Individualized Learning

The Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) is at the center of the K12 Program. The development of a K12 student's ILP is a collaborative process. Typically, those involved are the student, parents, and teachers, plus advisors and counselors. Led by the teacher, the team creates a unique plan for each child, designed to organize and properly sequence the student's schoolwork while articulating his or her academic strengths and challenges. Some children are ready to move ahead quickly in one subject but need extra help in others.

A crucial element to determining each child's unique needs is assessment testing. Each child in grades 3–10 takes benchmark tests at the beginning of the year to diagnose strengths and challenges, and again each spring to assess academic growth achieved throughout the year. State testing is also included, and ongoing testing is administered as needed to ensure each child is making progress against goals. For high school students, the ILP expands beyond academic objectives to include post-secondary goals for college and/or a career.

"We've got to find what works and accelerates learning. For each child, that may be different. We need to collectively settle for nothing short of academic excellence, which is doable with the right approach, cognitive science, innovative products and perseverance. I applaud the growing number of teachers and schools who are embracing the new possibilities to individualize options for students, whether it's adding an extra online AP class for an advanced learner, drawing on online resources for credit recovery to ensure graduation, turning the traditional classroom model into a blended learning approach, or offering full-time online schooling options," said Dr. Margaret Jorgensen, K12's Chief Academic Officer. "I am also thrilled to see parents embracing a more involved role in their child's education and embracing a more proactive partnership with teachers and schools."

Parent and Student Satisfaction

As referenced in the recently released 2013 K12 Academic Report, K12 parent surveys showed high levels of satisfaction, with 90% of parents with students enrolled in K12-managed public schools indicating they were satisfied with the curriculum and 91% of parents satisfied with their teacher[2]. Furthermore, 97% of K12-managed Virtual Academy parents and 92% of K12-managed Virtual Academy high school students agreed they had benefitted academically from K12 curriculum[3]. The top reason cited by parents for selecting K12-managed schools was based on having greater flexibility[4].

"We chose virtual education for our three children for various reasons since each one's needs differ. We were unable to find help to meet our eldest son's academic challenges at traditional public and private schools. At K12's partner school, Insight School of Washington, he began transforming from a failing student into a thriving leader. Our high school freshman daughter has regained confidence and is thriving in the safer virtual environment while overcoming the effects of bullying in her brick and mortar elementary school. Our youngest eight-year-old daughter, an advanced learner, works at a more challenging level. Both girls attend K12's partner school, Washington Virtual Academy. In our experience, K12's partner schools have provided personalized, high-quality curricula with excellent state-certified teachers working with us as involved parents—a formula for student success," explained Peter and Vanita Thomas.

"It seemed as if I was constantly playing a catch up game in the traditional public school, which made me feel like a failure. At my online public high school, with the help of excellent teachers, compassionate staff, and my parents' guidance, not only was I able to learn, but also excel. I was voted 'Student of the Year' at graduation and carried over about 40 credits to college. I currently attend the University of Washington-Bothell. In retrospect, I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I had had no choice but to remain in my original school environment," commented Sandeep Thomas[5], a graduate of Insight School of Washington, a K12 partner school.

K12's goals are to improve education outcomes and graduate students who are college- and/or career-ready. Students at K12 partner schools have been accepted at hundreds of post-secondary institutions, including Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, Brown and Cornell University.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of K12 Inc., from February 7–11, 2013, among 2,219 adults ages 18 and older, of whom 388 are parents of children ages 6–17. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About K12 Inc.

K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN) is leading the transformation to individualized learning as the nation's foremost provider of technology-powered online solutions for students in pre-kindergarten through high school. K12 has worked with over 2,000 school districts and has delivered more than four million courses over the past decade. K12 provides curricula, academic services, and learning solutions to public schools and districts, traditional classrooms, blended school programs, and families. K12's curriculum is rooted in decades of research combined with 21st-century technology by cognitive scientists, interactive designers and teachers. K12's portfolio of more than 550 unique courses and titles—the most extensive in the technology-based education industry—covers every core subject and four academic levels for high school including Honors and AP. K12 offers credit recovery courses, career-building electives, remediation support, six world languages and a deep STEM offering. The K12Program is offered through K12partner public schools in more than two-thirds of the states and the District of Columbia, and through private schools serving students in all 50 states and 85 countries. More information can be found at

K12student uses online curriculum to make progress based on his Individualized Learning Plan.

[1] Multiple responses were allowed

[2] Source: Spring 2012 satisfaction surveys with Virtual Academy, IQ Academy, and Insight School parents. Total K12 K–12 percentages are weighted averages of all four surveys based on parent population proportions as of May 2012.

[3] Source: K–8 and High School Parent and High School Student Satisfaction surveys for K12 Virtual Academies, spring 2012

[4] Source: Spring 2012 satisfaction surveys with Virtual Academy, IQ Academy, and Insight School parents. Total K12 K–12 percentages are weighted averages of all four surveys based on parent population proportions as of May 2012.

[5] Source: Video of student interview:



Regina Lewis, +1-703-728-0327