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Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts will introduce Legislation in January to Address Deficiencies in Virtual School

 

Student Proficiency Scores “Dismal”

The Seal of the State of TennesseeNashville, TN – Tennessee State Representative Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) said today that he plans to introduce legislation in January, 2013 to address severe deficiencies in the virtual school law created in 2011.

Recent release of student proficiency results by the Department of Education indicate the virtual school, K-12, Inc. d/b/a Tennessee Virtual Academy is deemed a dismal failure and is in need of immediate remediation.

“The virtual school experiment passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2011, has failed and our hands are tied to address the poor results by students in this for profit virtual school,” said Pitts. “The legislation I will propose will attempt to address the lack of accountability in the first year of a virtual school,” Pitts said.

The proposal includes placing virtual schools into a category to be reviewed annually to ensure students are not falling too far behind.  Current law only allows the Department of Education to intervene if the school fails to meet standards two years in a row. The virtual school will be required to report in its school improvement plan specific methods to raise achievement of the students.

Representatives of the school will also be required to appear before the House and Senate Education Committees to present information and answer questions.  And finally, the Commissioner of the Department of Education may place the virtual school in an achievement school district, which will place additional measures in place to prevent students of the failing virtual school from falling farther behind.

“I was skeptical of the virtual school experiment from the moment of its passage and the results prove that on-line learning is best kept under the strict supervision of the local school district,” said Pitts.  “While this proposal will not help students in the Tennessee Virtual Academy that have lost a lot of ground in the previous academic year, it will put everyone on notice of our intent to address this problem.”

The Tennessee Virtual Academy scored the lowest possible TVAAS score, which shows whether a student increased or decreased academic growth.

  • Only 11 percent of schools in Tennessee scored in that category, putting them “significantly below expectations,” according to the Department of Education.
  • A value-added index of -25.27, which ranks “near the bottom of the bottom.”
  • Only 16.4 percent of students scored proficient or advanced in math on state TCAP tests.

The proposal will not affect the on-line classes offered through the local school districts.

For more information please contact our office at rep.joe.pitts@capitol.tn.gov or 615.741.2043.


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