Email Suggests Virtual School Deleting Students’ Bad Grades

In an email reported by WTVF-TV in Nashville, an official of Tennessee’s biggest for-profit virtual school suggests that teachers erase bad grades records for some students.
At the center of the controversy is the Tennessee Virtual Academy — a for-profit, online public school that Republican lawmakers touted as a way to improve education in Tennessee. Two years ago, state lawmakers voted to let K12 Inc. open the school, using millions of taxpayer dollars.
But, now, those lawmakers are concerned about standardized test results that put it among the worst schools in the state.
In fact, the email suggests that even school leaders are becoming increasingly concerned by how their students’ grades may look to parents and the public.
“That is not something I would ever be told in my school — I mean, it’s just not acceptable,” said state Rep. Gloria Johnson, a Knoxville Democrat who is also a career teacher. “Quite honestly, I was horrified.”
The email — labeled “important — was written in December by the Tennessee Virtual Academy’s vice principal to middle school teachers.
“After … looking at so many failing grades, we need to make some changes before the holidays,” the email begins.
Among the changes: Each teacher “needs to take out the October and September progress [reports]; delete it so that all that is showing is November progress.”
…”And that’s cheating in your mind?” NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked.
“In my mind, sure. I mean, yes.”
The email adds, “This cannot be late!”
“To come in and say ‘everybody who made failing grades the first two months, we need to delete those grades,’ to me that’s a huge issue,” Johnson added.
And the suggestions from K12 leaders don’t end there.
In traditional classrooms, if students score a 60 on one test and a 90 on a second test, they’re stuck with a 75 average. But the email suggests that teachers erase the bad grades, leaving students with just the good grades.
The email continues, “If you have given an assignment and most of your students failed that assignment, then you need to take that grade out.”
K12 officials refused to sit down to answer our questions, but the Tennessee Virtual Academy’s principal said in an email that the goal was to “more accurately recognize students’ current progress.”
“By going back into our school’s electronic grading system and recording students’ most recent progress score (instead of taking the average throughout the semester) we could more accurately recognize students’ current progress in their individualized learning program,” principal Josh Williams said in the statement.
“This also helped differentiate those and identify those who needed instructional intervention and remediation.”


Note: The email text is HERE.

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