UPDATE: Charter School Controversy: K12 Disputes Reports of Grade Tampering
The for-profit company that's trying to bring a virtual charter school to Oswego, Plainfield, West Aurora and 15 other Fox Valley districts is under fire in Tennessee for allegedly deleting failing grades.
A report by NBC5 in Tennessee says the K12 for-profit charter school that could be coming to the Fox Valley area next year tried to delete grades of failing students in order to make results look better.
The Feb. 11 Nashville-based NBC report by Chief Investigative Reporter Phil Williams says the Tennessee Virtual Academy—the company's Nashville equivalent to the proposed Fox Valley charter—directed teachers to delete two months worth of failing grades.
The proof was an email uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates that indicated a VLS middle school vice principal's directive to delete failing progress reports teachers dished out in September and October.
"After ... looking at so many failing grades, we need to make some changes before the holidays," the email says.
The e-mail asks each teacher "to take out the October and September progress [reports]; delete it so that all that is showing is November progress."
K12 is trying to start an online charter school called Virtual Learning Solutions in Oswego and 17 other school districts. Funding would come by transferring the per-pupil expenditure tuition from the public schools to the charter school.
Maureen Lemon, District 308's attorney, said recently that the Charter School is, "Suggesting a cost of $8,000 per pupil per year that you would transfer to the charter school for each child that enrolled," although she said it was not clear how the Charter came up with that number.
Board President Bill Walsh said that number was consistent across all of the districts Virtual Learning Solutions has approached.
Oswego held a special board meeting Thursday for the school board to discuss the charter school's application. There will be a public hearing for the charter school to present to the District 308 board and public Tuesday, March 19.
Randall Greenway, K12's vice president of School Development, said Tuesday afternoon that the story was inaccurate and contained a number of false claims.
"It was quickly and completely debunked by the school and its teachers," he said. "One of the TNVA teachers, speaking on behalf of her fellow teachers at the school, responded in the media" via this article in the Knoxville News Sentinel.
The teachers also spoke before the Tennessee legislature and "directly countered these false claims," Greenway said.
You can read a full response from TNVA administrators here.
"The individuals in the story who criticized the school had no understanding of how the school operates, nor did they first seek information from the school, its administrators or teachers, before rendering judgment based on nothing more than a single email," Greenway said.
- District 308 Holding Meeting Regarding Application of an Online Charter School
- Watch Live: Special 308 Board of Education Meeting for Charter Schools
- NBC5:Email Directs Teachers To Delete Bad Grades
Districts Targeted for a Fox River Valley Region
- School District U-46
- Indian Prairie School District 204
- Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202
- Community Unit School District 300
- Valley View Community Unit School District 365U
- Naperville Community Unit School District 203
- Oswego Community Unit School District 308
- East Aurora School District 131
- St. Charles Community Unit School District 303
- Community Unit School District 200
- West Aurora School District 129
- Batavia Public School District 101
- Geneva Community Unit School District 304
- DeKalb Community Unit School District 428
- Yorkville Community Unit School District 115
- Kaneland Community Unit School District 302
- Sycamore Community Unit School District 427
- Central Community Unit School District 301