UPDATE Fox Valley Charter School Controversy: K12 Disputes NBC5 Tennessee Reports of Grade Tampering
The for-profit company that's trying to bring a virtual charter school to Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles and 15 other Fox Valley districts is under fire in Tennessee for allegedly deleting failing grades, but officials say the report has been "debunked."
A report by NBC5 in Tennessee says the K12 for-profit charter school that could be coming to the Fox Valley next year tried to delete grades of failing students in order to make results look better.
But the company that wants to start online charter here says the report was inaccurate and contained a number of false claims.
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 Geneva and 17 other school districts. Funding would come by transferring the per-pupil expenditure tuition from the public schools to the charter school. Geneva officials said Monday night that the total would be in the range of $10,000 to $12,000 per pupil.
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.
Geneva was the first school district to hold a public hearing on the charter-school proposal, which took place last night (Monday, March 12, 2013), but Virtual Learning Solutions was a no-show.
The K12 administrator said in an e-mail to Geneva Patch late Monday night that the district had not notified the organization of the public hearing.
Patch has an e-mail request in for a response from School District 304 regarding the NBC report and the notification issue.
- 2ND UPDATE: 'Virtual' Charter School Was Not Informed of Monday Night's Public Hearing
- 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