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Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:04 PM

Tennessee Virtual Academy emails teachers to delete bad grades. For-profit online school.

Email Directs Teachers To Delete Bad Grades

There is a video at the link as well.

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.

...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."


Millions of taxpayer dollars to open the school, a failed experiment.

More on the test scores. Lawmakers warned the school.

TN lawmakers blast online K12 school

After opening in 2011 courtesy of enabling legislation approved by the Republican-dominated legislature, Tennessee Virtual Academy is under heightened scrutiny following an inaugural year of operations that produced alarmingly low test scores: Only 16.4 percent of its middle school students scored proficient or advanced test marks in math, while 39.3 percent did so in reading/language arts.


The utter irony of this next paragraph caught my eye at once. The head of the academy actually has the nerve to excuse the grades because he says the students come with a "different, unique need". Just like public school students don't?

The "reformers" seem to live in their own reality

Josh Williams, head of schools for the Tennessee Virtual Academy, pointed to the challenge of teaching all types of children when repeatedly pressed on the school’s poor math scores: “Each one of our students comes in with a different, unique need,” he said, adding that the school is seeking to “work as a team” and to make better use of data to address the needs.


His answer to the failure is to "make better use of data"?

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Reply Tennessee Virtual Academy emails teachers to delete bad grades. For-profit online school. (Original post)
madfloridian Feb 2013 OP
madfloridian Feb 2013 #1
d_r Feb 2013 #3
d_r Feb 2013 #2
madfloridian Feb 2013 #5
jsr Feb 2013 #4
madfloridian Feb 2013 #10
LiberalFighter Feb 2013 #6
madfloridian Feb 2013 #20
madfloridian Feb 2013 #7
duffyduff Feb 2013 #8
madfloridian Feb 2013 #9
theaocp Feb 2013 #11
madfloridian Feb 2013 #12
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #16
duffyduff Feb 2013 #18
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #13
hay rick Feb 2013 #14
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #15
madfloridian Feb 2013 #17
madfloridian Feb 2013 #19
madfloridian Feb 2013 #21

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:09 PM

1. Love this excuse. TN academy blames failure on students.

Virtual School Blames Poor Performance on Students

Tennessee’s largest K-through-12 online school had to defend poor standardized test results to state lawmakers Tuesday. Tennessee Virtual Academy posted scores labeled “unacceptable” by the state.

Sitting before the Senate Education Committee, academy head Josh Williams was asked why his online school – on a scale of one to five – ended up with a one.

Tennessee Virtual Academy has more than 3,000 students, and they come from public school districts throughout the state, including Nashville.

“I know some of the districts – and this is a rumor – that some of the districts would take some of the kids they thought would be bad for their scores and actually try to send them our way.”

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:27 PM

3. starting to figure it out, huh Josh?

when you don't get to cherry pick the students the test scores don't come easy - hm, sort of like public schools?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:25 PM

2. You missed this line after the Josh Williams quote

“We are very concerned, and we are going to raise some of those scores,” he vowed.

ETA - looks like they found a way to use the data to raise some of those scores, huh?

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Response to d_r (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:35 PM

5. I did miss that.

Data is their answer to everything.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:29 PM

4. They need to shut down these scammers and put them in jail

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Response to jsr (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 02:58 PM

10. Heck, they just keep turning more money over to them.

That's the policy, more charter schools.

We could be fixing public schools instead of shutting them down.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 02:28 PM

6. The challenge of teaching all types of children?

How is it easier for public schools?

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 11:37 PM

20. That took nerve or just ignorance to say that.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 02:34 PM

7. Principal admits individual grades don't matter, only the standardized test at end of course.

But the principal of the Tennessee Virtual Academy noted that, ultimately, the school's success or failure will be judged based on the standardized tests that students take at the end of the year -- not on individual grades.


That's at least being honest, right? Like why should kids bother to work hard and study because only the test at the end matters.

That's what is happening in public schools. Why bother to keep grade books? Why hours of grading papers that won't matter that much at the end?

That's not learning.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 02:41 PM

8. Of course teachers will follow directives

They have to in public schools, too. All a teacher has to do to ruin his or her career is to stand up for ethics and refuse to change grades when ordered.

It happens all the time in public ed, and teachers are railroaded all the time from their careers when they refuse to carry out a principal's outrageous demands.

It has happened long before "reforms" took place and will continue long after. It's the nature of the beast. The principal has complete control and no accountability, and the teacher must follow orders no matter how unethical, illegal, or stupid.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 02:46 PM

9. My principals were decent, until the last one.

They were the frontline of the reformy types moving into our state. Mean and punitive toward teachers who took the blame for everything. Luckily I could retire by then, but I gave it another year or so. Not a good two years.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 03:10 PM

11. He's got his buzzwords down pat.

I hate the word "data" in education. It's overused by people who have no business making decisions about education. Please speak in specifics or just shut up. What clowns.

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Response to theaocp (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 03:56 PM

12. Agreed, but at least he did not say "status quo".

Bill Gates comes to mind when I hear the word "data". Pays to have money.

All that data not doing anything for them.

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Response to theaocp (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:59 PM

16. +1

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Response to theaocp (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:46 PM

18. And don't forget the characterization of students as "data points."

Completely dehumanizing.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:41 PM

13. I love these threads for the comments that they don't get.

Three, four years ago we had plenty of DU experts telling us we were doom and gloomers. Where are they now? I should have bought stock in crickets.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:03 PM

14. The six stages of grief...

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance...and crickets. The doom and gloomers were wrong until they were right, but then it didn't really matter.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 05:18 PM

15. I know--

My quest for a mea culpa from some quarters is fruitless. It would sure be satisfying though.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:21 PM

17. ....

I still get called names like that. People simply don't want to hear it, plus it is complicated. Not easy to explain.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:44 PM

19. Republicans shut off debate of this email when Dems wanted to discuss.

http://www2.wnct.com/news/2013/feb/12/haslam-virtual-school-bill-advances-ar-3020276/

"The House Education Subcommittee took up virtual schools Tuesday amid allegations that a privately operated one directed teachers to cover up failing grades.

The committee altered Gov. Bill Haslam's proposed enrollment cap so it kicks in only if the school falls below performance guidelines for two consecutive years.

A Republican parliamentary move cut off debate when a Democrat tried to discuss an email obtained by WTVF-TV that indicated the vice principal of Tennessee Virtual Academy directed middle school teachers to delete two months of bad grades.

State officials have questioned K12 Inc.'s operation of the academy, calling its first-year test results "unacceptable."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:07 AM

21. School's parents defend it? One says a way for state to get rid of it? School says most do it?

http://www.wate.com/story/21136677/rep-johnson-condemns-online-school-for-grade-fixing

"Other parents defended TNVA, saying it has helped their children tremendously.

"I think this is another measure to get rid of TNVA in our state," TNVA parent Pamela Helton said. "There are a lot of kids that need this. I am personally amazed with how far they have come."

Another parent wrote on WATE-TV's Facebook page and said, "Both of my children attend TNVA! We love it!" Kimberly Baker-Bowen wrote. "My son is autistic. He doesn't function well in a classroom setting. With TNVA, he is succeeding and doing amazing! TNVA has been a Godsend for us!"

TNVA responded on its website, saying it has done nothing wrong and said that changing grading policies is common in most schools."

That is a complete lie. It is not a common practice at all.

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