When we consider the charter industry, it’s hard not to notice how it has become fertile territory for entrepreneurs with no education experience.

Take a case in point: The meteoric career of Ron Packard.

Begin by reading this dated biography, posted on  SourceWatch.

When it was written, Ron was making $5 million a year as CEO of the online charter chain K12 Inc. The company had a market value of more than $1.25 billion. Ron and former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett founded with startup money supplied by ex-felon and junk bond king MIchael Milken and Larry Ellison of Oracle.

His background:

Packard, born in 1963, grew up in Thousand Oaks, California, the son of a radar and weapon systems engineer for Hughes Aircraft, where he worked as a summer engineer.[12] He then worked in the mergers and acquisitions operation of Goldman Sachs from 1986 to 1988, and at McKinsey and Company from 1989 to 1993.[13] After leaving McKinsey, Packard went to Chile to work on getting government permits for some investors who had “bought title to a large forest.”[12] He was then picked up by Milken’s education investment holding firm, Knowledge Universe Learning Group, which appointed him partner, vice president and chief executive (1997-2000);[14] and then by Knowledge Schools, a chain of preschools.[15] Packard also served as a director at LearnNow Inc. (which was bought out by Edison in 2001), and Academy 123 Inc. (2004-2006; now owned by Discovery Communications).[16]

Goldman Sachs and McKinsey: quite the pedigree. No evidence of experience as an educator.

Ron soon realized that $5 million a year at K12 Inc. was not enough. He created a charter chain of his own, called Pansophic Learning.

Here is his bio from that gig:


Founder/Chief Executive Officer

Ron Packard is the CEO and Founder of Pansophic Learning, a global technology based education company. Packard is a well known educator, entrepreneur and visionary as well as the author of the highly regarded and reviewed book Education Transformation. Packard was previously the long time CEO and Founder of K12 Inc. He oversaw the growth of K12 from just an idea to almost one billion in revenue, making it one of the largest education companies in the world. During his tenure, revenue compounded at near 80%. Before K12, Packard was the Vice President of Knowledge Universe and CEO of Knowledge Schools, one of the nation’s largest early childhood education companies. He was also instrumental in the successful investments in Learn Now, Children’s School USA, Leapfrog, TEC, and Children’s Discovery Center. Packard also worked for McKinsey & Company and for Goldman Sachs in mergers and acquisitions. Packard has received the Education Industry Association’s James P. Boyle Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, as well as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the IT Services & Solutions category in Greater Washington. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business named him a Distinguished Alumni, and he also received an Outstanding Leadership Award from the United States Distance Learning Association. He sits on the Digital Learning Council. Packard previously served on the Department of Defense’s Education Advisory Committee. Packard has been featured on nationwide radio and television shows and magazines, including Bloomberg TV, Forbes, and the Washington Post to name a few. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, both with honors.

So now he is an “Education Expert” without ever teaching!

And he is not finished!

Packard founded ACCEL charters, which have targeted Ohio for its growth plans.

In 2016, during the campaign, Trump visited one of  Ron’s charters in Ohio. Even The 74 questioned why Trump chose to visit a failing charter school.

Ron’s Accel chain operates for profit, of course. Like, what’s the point of an education business if it doesn’t make a profit?

Ron moves into the Ohio market because state legislators don’t care about ethics or quality.

Jan Resseger wrote here that Ohio is a playground for swindlers. 

First there was Bill Lager’s fabulously profitable ECOT, which took over $1 billion out of the state’s education budget, and no one cared until recently because Lager dropped a few million into the campaign coffers of politicians. Then there was Dave Brennan and his White Hat scam charters.

Ron already has more than 41 charters, and his chain is growing. He is currently pursuing a business plan of buying up failed charters, and he has his eye on two in Cleveland. He will soon be enrolling as many students as the failed ECOT.

So this is what American education is becoming. A cash cow for an entrepreneur.