The worst-performing school in Tennessee is K12’s for-profit Virtual Academy.
If it were a public school, it would have been closed by now.
But K-12 is profitable and it hires good lobbyists so there will be no sanctions.
“Students at the Tennessee Virtual Academy, an online school run for profit, learned less than their peers anywhere else in Tennessee last year, data released by the state last week show, but efforts to crack down on the school have been delayed by heavy lobbying on its behalf.
“Results from standardized tests show that students in the Tennessee Virtual Academy made less progress as a group in reading, math, science and social studies than students enrolled in all 1,300 other elementary and middle schools who took the same tests. The school fell far short of state expectations for the second year in a row.
“But the school will remain open this year after an effort by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration to rein in the school if it failed for a second year was turned back by the school’s owner, Virginia-based K12 Inc. The company, which relies on online learning to educate its students, waged a public relations campaign that involved the school’s teachers, some of its parents and lobbyists.
“Nearly a year after Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman declared the Tennessee Virtual Academy’s results “unacceptable” and demanded an immediate turnaround, the school stands to collect about $5 million in state funds this school year. Last year, the school took in an estimated $15 million.
“Critics say the results fit a pattern for K12’s schools nationwide. The company has opened online schools across the country, taking advantage of state school-choice and charter school laws.”
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush and ALEC continue to promote online virtual charters as the wave of the future, the very essence of “personalized and customized” learning, and the Obama administration remains silent as these low-quality “schools” proliferate, empowered by campaign contributions and lobbying. (Paid for with your tax dollars.)