An online public school enrolling thousands of students across Tennessee once again faced scrutiny from state lawmakers yesterday (Tuesday). The virtual school, based in Union County, uses curriculum developed by a for-profit company called K12 Inc. The school’s standardized test scores have been some of the lowest in the state.
Math has been a particular problem. K12 official Megan Henry says her “number one priority” is to bring math scores up.
“We recognize that math is an area right now that we need to work on and that we are working on. The basic fact is, our students didn’t do as well last year as we would have liked them to do in language arts, in reading, and especially in math.”
K12 has been defending low test scores in several states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, the head of the Tennessee Virtual Academy backed away from comments he made in a hearing last week. Josh Williams, who runs the online school, told lawmakers he believed school districts were purposefully “dumping” under-performing students on his program. Williams backtracked from that statement yesterday.
Governor Bill Haslam has responded to the virtual school’s low performance with legislation. The proposal would cap enrollment if scores don’t improve and limit the number of students who could enroll without living in the host district.