Go read this Daily Beast story about a new online school Elon Musk helped start

Back in 2015, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he had started a school to teach his five young ones, eventually expanding it as a non-profit school for many children of SpaceX employees. He said at the time that his kids’ school wasn’t “doing things I thought should be done,” so that he hired away his kids’ teacher to help found the Ad Astra School. It did away with formal grade structures and put a focus on problem solving, per Musk’s direction, and he paid for most of the costs involved.

Now, he’s given an initial donation to a new online, for-profit school in Los Angeles, based on an investigation by The Daily Beast. According to business filings uncovered by The Daily Beast, the Astra Nova School, which plans to open in September was incorporated by Musk associate Jared Birchall.

Astra Nova’s principal, Joshua Dahn, told The Daily Beast that Musk just isn’t involved in managing the new venture, but confirmed his primordial role. “Elon helped with an initial donation and some basic administrative assistance to get Astra Nova started,” that he wrote. “But Elon has no financial interest in the school and no kids at the school.”

Distance learning has become a new reality for a lot of parents during the coronavirus pandemic. Astra Nova is inviting “academically serious, creative, and kind students between the ages of 8 and 14” to apply, by watching this video and responding via video by July 10th. Education advocates aren’t in deep love with the idea, TDB found. Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Education Julian Vasquez Heilig said he wishes Musk had tried to partner with existing online education programs.

“I don’t bemoan Elon Musk doing this kind of work,” added Vasquez Heilig. “I just wish he would have chosen as an alternative to partner with Oakland or Alum Rock, a school district that serves low income students in Silicon Valley. There are a large amount of equity concerns in the STEM field and that he [had] a real chance to make what he was doing a public good, rather than a private good only certain people can access.”

Musk and his associates haven’t commented on his involvement with the school. Go check out The Daily Beast’s full report about Astra Nova.

UPDATE July 5th 3:31 PM ET: Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the tuition of the Astra Nova School. According to the school’s website the full total cost is $7,500 for one year. We regret the error.