This list is by no means comprehensive and I do not endorse the products listed. The list is intended to identify the vendors that seem to have a substantial enrollment and a track record partnering with states and school districts. I’d appreciate hearing about vendors or institutions that I have omitted.
K12 Inc. appears to be the leading private national vendor of K12 online learning products. It appears to be the only publicly traded company in this market (Initial Offering in December 2007) and so reports its results publicly — see Digital50 or Google Finance, for example. In the most recently announced quarter (ending December 2007), K12 revenues (although not earnings) surged 68% on strong enrollment growth, to over 40,000 students.
K12 Inc. offers a full suite of turnkey high school learning products and operates public virtual high schools in partnerships with 10 states (AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, MN, OH, PA, WA, WI). K12 successes have aroused opposition in some areas — see Eschoolnews or Home Education News.
It appears that K12 has a larger presence in the West and North. In the Southern states, K12 online learning is happening heavily through the South Regional Education Board (SREB) — see below.
SREB/AT&T Foundation State Virtual Schools Alliance, is not a vendor per se. But it is a leading resource nationally. It is a regional public private partnership building on the work of the Southern Regional Education Board’s technology collaborative to expand high quality online education. 16 Southern states are running virtual public schools with the support of the Alliance. The collaborative’s 2007 report on virtual schools provides an overview of activity in these states. The collaborative facilitates development and sharing of online course materials among the virtual schools in the states within it. Some of these schools, however, purchase their materials from independent vendors — this provides the easiest route to startup.
Apex Learning offers a spectrum of products from teaching tools to turnkey courses. They cover grades 6 through 12. Their offerings include 14 AP courses. Apex is a privately held company, founded originally by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It started off focusing exclusively on AP courses, but has diversified through internal development and acquisitions. See Wikipedia history.
Advanced Academics also offers a spectrum of products from teaching tools to turnkey course. Based in Oklahoma, it runs state sponsored virtual schools in five states (OK, AK, NV, WA, MN — note the overlap with K12 Inc. in WA and MN). The company was recently acquired by DeVry Inc., a vendor of primarily post-secondary online education.
Virtual High School is based in Maynard, MA and offers a distance learning model as opposed to an online model. It is a consortium of school districts offering classes to each other’s students over the internet. All classes are teacher facilitated and limited in size to 25 students.
For a sense of the variety of smaller vendors in the market see Yahoo.