Senator Seeks Review of K-12, Inc. ‘Virtual School’ in TN

Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, is asking state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to conduct an independent review of the operations of a for-profit virtual school operating under contract with the Union County school system, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
In a letter to Huffman, sent Wednesday, Berke cites a study released this month by the National Education Policy Center that is critical of K12 Inc.’s national operations based on 2010-11 data.
K12 officials, which opened an online K-8 school with Union County for the 2011-12 school year, take issue with the center’s study. Company spokesman Jeff Kwitowski called it “deeply flawed” and filled with “numerous errors and wrong assumptions.”
Berke, a persistent critic of K12, noted in the letter that Tennessee’s First to the Top Act of 2010, which he co-sponsored, targeted several areas of education reform, including teachers and leaders, data, standards and assessment as well as “school turnaround.”
“The findings in the report indicate that schools operated by K12 Inc. fail in each of these four areas,” Berke said.
…”It will also be subject to the same accountability as other schools” such as priority and focus, Gauthier said. “So when we have school level results” which are likely this fall, “it will [be] part of that puzzle.”
“We think Sen. Berke’s request has merit, and we intend to look closely at the results and report back to him,” she said. “We don’t think AYP is the appropriate indicator, but we do think that we should look at value-added scores and overall achievement scores, and will do so in the coming weeks.”
K12 said the National Education Policy report “provides no evidence backing up this claim” that students managed by K12 are “falling behind” and “more likely to fall behind” in reading and math scores compared to brick-and-mortar schools.

One thought on “Senator Seeks Review of K-12, Inc. ‘Virtual School’ in TN

  1. Eric Holcombe

    And yet, NEA-Andy was silent when Gov. Haslam had to beg Obama for a get-out-of-school-free card when 80% of the public schools were going to fail to meet AYP and had to swallow the federally contrived Common Core “State” Standards.
    It will be interesting to see the TVA data by itself as the majority of public charters in this country are only allowed to start with the worst of the worst academic performing public school students, usually only by lottery. The public system likes to condemn charters and privates as getting to pick and choose their students as they self-righteously claim to take all comers, yet it is these very students they kick to the curb first with a lottery system – hoping and praying that the competition will fail them as well.
    I would like to see how “far behind” these students were before going to K-12 Inc. and then how they fare a year or two later. Shedding off your worst students and claiming less than a year later that the competition has “failed” is laughable.

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