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Republican-backed for-profit school caught deleting bad student grades

A for-profit school that was hyped by Republican lawmakers as a solution to Tennessee’s education problems recently admitted deleting bad grades to “more accurately recognize students’ current progress.”

A December email obtained by WTVF showed that Tennessee Virtual Academy’s vice principal instructed middle school teachers to delete “failing grades” from October and September.

“After … looking at so many failing grades, we need to make some changes before the holidays,” the email says, adding that each teacher needed to “take out the October and September progress [reports]; delete it so that all that is showing is November progress.”

“If you have given an assignment and most of your students failed that assignment, then you need to take that grade out.”

Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson said she was horrified because the school’s instructions amounted to cheating.

“Does it talk about we need to make changes in curriculum? Does it talk about we need to make changes in our teaching strategy? No,” Johnson told WTVF. “Those changes we need to make are deleting grades from the computer system.”

“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,” she explained. “To me, this appears like it’s grade fixing.”

Tennessee Virtual Academy Principal Josh Williams insisted that the school had taken the steps 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,” he told the station in an email.

The Virtual School Act was pushed through by lobbyists and approved by Republican lawmakers in the closing minutes of the May 2011 legislative session. The bill allowed Union County Public Schools to contract with K12 Inc. to set up Tennessee Virtual Academy. In exchange, Union County was expected to keep 4 percent of the $5,387 being sent to the private company for each student.

Democratic lawmakers are now attempting to cap enrollment at 5,000 after 2011 test scores showed that only 16.4 percent of middle school students were proficient in math, and only 39.3 percent were proficient in language arts.

At the end of last month, there were 3,149 students enrolled in the online school.

The K12 Inc. CEO was compensated more $2.6 million in 2010. The company’s chief financial officer made more than $1.7 million. By comparison, Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman had a salary of $200,000 in 2011, making him the highest-paid cabinet officer at the time.

Watch this video from WTVF, broadcast Feb. 11, 2013.

by What a surprisereply 2202/14/2013

Every kid in Tennesse is going to want to enroll now.

by What a surprisereply 102/13/2013

All For-Profit schools are basically corrupt. It's all about money.

Listen up Gaylings, this is my one tip from an elder gay I pass on to you with good intention.

Do not under any circumstances go to a For-Profit college. Chain school or online same thing.

They sometimes market to gaylings as being open but in reality, you are just another group to exploit. The degrees are worthless when you graduate.

You will end up stripping to pay back that student loan:

by What a surprisereply 202/13/2013

Public schools aren't? Their fed funding relies on certain statistics.

by What a surprisereply 302/13/2013

What's a 'gayling'?

by What a surprisereply 402/13/2013

Public schools are far less corrupt.

by What a surprisereply 502/13/2013

Public schools do not as their main objective have to show increased profits every quarter to their shareholders. This is the first rule of business. Their Mission Statement.

Public schools are hard to get into, so they reject students with bad grades. Private schools take anyone who qualifies for a loan, the spunk stuck on the floor drain at a bath house would qualify.

by What a surprisereply 602/13/2013

Disgusting, and not surprising.

by What a surprisereply 702/13/2013

The Rethugs should stick to for-profit jails. But you know what? I bet the for-profit jails financed the for-profit schools because that way you create all these ignorant, destined-to-be-unemployable kids who'll (surprise suprise!) all end up getting arrested and being sent to for-profit jails. It's a brilliant plan to keep the jails full and the profit margins rising for decades to come.

by What a surprisereply 802/13/2013

The Republicans are in bed with these For-Profit schools. Senator Olympia Snowe husband was one of the biggest investors in the largest For-Prifit schools. She retired eirly right after the Obama Administration filed 11 Billion lawsuit against these schools. How convenient.

by What a surprisereply 902/13/2013

It's truly sickening. Yes, prisons too.

by What a surprisereply 1002/13/2013

Nothing public should be "for profit", it's the ultimate gateway for fraud.

by What a surprisereply 1102/13/2013

Ergo, Libertarians and Republicans are corrupt.

by What a surprisereply 1202/13/2013

Agreed, r11.

However, the public schools are corrupt in their own ways.

It is standard to inflate grades, have open book tests, allow do-over tests, etc.

The reliance on standardized tests in all schools has destroyed real learning, because teachers just teach students how to pass these tests; they are not indicators of intelligence or future success.

by What a surprisereply 1302/13/2013

Yes R10, prisons too. But I think it's worse that kids 17 or 18 get sold up the river. They think its an even trade, money for an education. They really don't realize how sinister the corporations posing as schools really are.

This is true:

by What a surprisereply 1402/13/2013

Fuck them and fuck that school. My middle school students have a 94% proficiency in math. We struggle every damn day to do our best at the school I teach at. Dang, these cheaters piss me off.

by What a surprisereply 1502/13/2013

Bobby Jindal is destroying public education in Louisiana with these charter (mostly religious) schools. They literally can teach whatever the fuck they want -- the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution, the KKK was a civil rights group, etc. (BTW, I'm not making up these examples.) And the kicker? These schools are completely funded by taxpayers!

by What a surprisereply 1602/13/2013

OMG, R16, do you have links for that info? That is insane!

by What a surprisereply 1702/13/2013

14 Wacky "Facts" Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools

by What a surprisereply 1802/13/2013

Unreal and unAmerican.

PUBLIC education should be a birthright.

by What a surprisereply 1902/14/2013

Tip of the iceberg.

by What a surprisereply 2002/14/2013

SHOCK. republican's cheating!

by What a surprisereply 2102/14/2013

Question: Why can't we have a national standard for public schools? And by public schools, I an including charter schools. This notion that some states can do whatever they darn well please is a disaster.

by What a surprisereply 2202/14/2013
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