Putting Education Reform To The Test

Tennessee Lawmakers Question Online Educator K12 Inc.

Tennessee Virtual Academy

Tennessee lawmakers may reign in the Tennessee Virtual Academy, operated by K12, Inc.

Lawmakers in Tennessee are growing skeptical of an online school run by K12 Inc., the nation’s largest online education company.

That’s according to a piece by Tennessee reporter Blake Farmer broadcast on NPR Tuesday.

Just 16 percent of K12′s 3,200 students in kindergarten through 8th grade met state standards in math. The company is also facing questions about an email that suggests teachers should delete poor grades.

UPDATE: K12 spokesman Jeff Kwitowski has responded, sending along a link to an op-ed from a TNVA teacher explaining the school grading system, and the school’s response. He also adds some context to the statistic about meeting state math standards. See his comment below.

Tennessee lawmakers say they are considering limiting K12′s Tennessee Virtual Academy enrollment if scores don’t improve.

StateImpact Florida has reported extensively on questions about K12′s operations in Florida, including questions about whether the company is using properly certified teachers.



  • http://twitter.com/JeffKwitowski Jeff Kwitowski

    John, that grading story was debunked by the school’s teachers and administration. See this teacher’s piece in Knoxville News Sentinel: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/feb/16/summer-shelton/

    And school’s statement here:http://www.k12.com/sites/default/files/pdf/school-docs/TNVA-Response-02-11-2013.PDF

    Also, the 16% of 3200 students figure is not accurate. The school was open less than a year. Every kid tested was midway through their first academic year at the school. First year scores are a baseline (and, in many cases, more indicative of students’ prior academic achievement). Traditional schools aren’t held accountable based on one year of data. Academic gains over time give a much more accurate account, but that info can’t be found looking only at first year state test results of new students.

    Students did show positive academic gains according to results from norm-referenced tests: http://www.k12.com/sites/default/files/pdf/2013-K12-Academic-Report-Feb6-2013.pdf

    • StateImpactJOC

      Thanks Jeff,

      I’ve updated the story to include both responses and to point readers toward your comment on the math proficiency.

      • http://twitter.com/JeffKwitowski Jeff Kwitowski

        thanks, John

  • Guest

    Thanks, John.

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »