Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Homeschooling is Hot - Here comes the suits!

A friend suggested to me that I go to Edgar and type in homeschooling and look at the filings that pop-up. Basically, when companies seek to raise money (like stock or IPOs), they need to register and the registrations are publicly available at edgar. When the internet was hot and new, there was loads of new filings. There seem to be several filings that show up when you search on homeschool.

Learning Priority Inc (formerly Edulink) - My quick overview of this is that they have raised and spent $16M trying to build some software. Now they are out of money and can't raise any more. Some quotes below.


Home School Inc -

Overview--------Learning Priority, Inc. is a development stage company engaged in the design anddevelopment of a seamless integrated Internet educational service, called theSmart Schoolhouse system, for schools and homes, that is intended to be marketedto and utilized by students, parents, teachers and school administrators. Theplanned service will be delivered over the Internet to personal computer users.The Company originally estimated that it needed a total of approximately $8.5million to produce, alpha test, beta test and launch the system for the 7th and8th grades only. The Company subsequently (in August 2001) determined that tosuccessfully launch the system, it was necessary to include curricula for allgrades from 3rd through 12th as well as the homeschool market, and the Companytherefore also needed to license and make third party content available throughits system. The Company estimated that it needed an additional $5 millionthrough June 2002 to complete the modifications required for the system'sapplication for the entire 3rd through 12th grades and to the homeschool market,to license and integrate third party content, to complete production ofadditional enabling tools, to create proprietary curriculum for two additionalgrade levels, to launch the system and conduct marketing activities up to theend of the customary school year (i.e., June 2002), and to provide theinfrastructure to market and exploit the Company's technologies outside of thegrade 3-12 education market. Therefore, having taken into account the revisedcapital requirements, the Company estimated that it needed to raise a total of 6$13.5 million, of which it had raised a total of $8,062,578, net of expenses, asof September 30, 2001, primarily through the private placement of its CommonStock. As of December 31, 2001, the Company had raised only $200,000 of theadditional $5.5 million in capital it needed, and had not completed theproduction of additional enabling tools, had not licensed additional third partycurriculum content, had not upgraded the technology and had not the completedthe infrastructure to exploit its technologies outside of the grade 3-12education market. And as of December 31, 2002, the Company had raised only anadditional $150,000. The Company now estimates that it needs to raise a total of$5 million in capital to upgrade its technology, license and integrate thirdparty content for the 3rd through 12th grades, produce additional enablingtools, conduct marketing activities and launch the system in September 2010 forthe education market. The Company intends to raise the additional $5 million incapital it needs to complete those modifications and enabling tools, tointegrate third party content and to beta test the system while working withvarious school districts, school district alliances and/or State Departments ofEducation. Concurrently, the Company intends to obtain additional content fromeducational publishers, universities and other content providers and to launchthe system upon the start of the next customary school year (i.e.,August-September 2009), as well as to create the infrastructure to market andexploit its technology in other markets. The Company raised $10,417,381, net ofexpenses, as of December 31, 2007, toward the goal of a total of $13.5 million,primarily through the private placement of its common stock. The Company nowexpects that expenses (including software development costs and general andadministrative costs) will be approximately $5 million per year from April 1,2008 to March 31, 2009, to license additional third party curriculum content, toproduce additional software tools, to alpha test and beta test the content solicensed and the tools so produced, to upgrade technologies, to continueoperations, to provide necessary support and maintenance services to licensees,to increase marketing activities for the Smart Schoolhouse system and tocontinue and increase development, marketing and support activities relating tothe Company's technologies for application in markets outside of the 3rd through12th grade U.S. education market.As of January 25, 2008, NASDAQ approved the Company to amend our Articles ofIncorporation to: (i) change the Company's name to "Learning Priority, Inc." andsymbol to "LRNP"; (ii) effectuate a 1-for-1,500 reverse stock split of ourauthorized and issued and outstanding shares of common stock; (iii) increase thenumber of authorized shares of Common Stock to two billion, sixteen million,sixty one thousand, six hundred and thirty six (2,016,061,636) shares of commonstock, par value $0.001 per share


Friday, June 06, 2008

trains and curriculum

I just rode the old narrow gauge railroad here next to Yosemite Park. I was thrilled. It made me think about how much I think my kids should know that they don't.

They don't know how a steam engine works. How wood, coal, or oil is used to heat the boiler and the steam is used to drive pistons. The pistons then turn the drive shaft which drives the wheels. In this case, since it's for an engine that goes up and down hills, it drives all 12 wheels on the locomotive. My daughter (14) didn't even know the words gauge, turbine, or pistons.

I remember a story I heard from long ago that the North and South of the US had train tracks built around different gauge railroad tracks. After the Civil War, as a commitment to rebuilding the Union, the North organized the rebuilding of one side's tracks so that trains could easily cover the nation from north to south. I only heard this story once and wonder if it's true.

Should kids know something about how engines work? I think it's more important than chemical valences in terms of understanding and appreciating the world around us. Yet valences are part of the educational standards: understanding a steam locomotive is not.

Who makes up these rules?