For-Profit School Tells Teachers to Cut Bad Grades

School says it is just being fair, but critics call it dishonest

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 13, 2013 7:45 AM CST

(Newser) – Tennessee Virtual Academy, a for-profit, online public school heavily supported by state Republicans, has found a novel way of boosting student performance—just delete bad grades, reports News Channel 5 in Nashville. A leaked December email from the school's VP appears to tell its middle-school teachers to erase some scores that don't measure up. "If you have given an assignment and most of your students failed that assignment, then you need to take that grade out," it reads.

"To me, this appears like it's grade fixing," said one Democratic state representative. Virginia-based parent company K12 is refusing to talk, but the TVA principal said the deletions were intended to "more accurately recognize students' current progress." But as the two-year-old school will receive $7.5 million in funding from the state this year, many Tennessee lawmakers are outraged. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that a House bill that proposed shutting the school altogether was killed yesterday; a second was passed by the House Education Subcommittee. It would allow the state to shutter a virtual school that records sub-standard student performance two years in a row. (Meanwhile, a Lehigh University student is suing over a bad grade.)

The for-profit Tennessee Virtual Academy is getting criticized for telling its teachers to drop students' poor grades.
The for-profit Tennessee Virtual Academy is getting criticized for telling its teachers to drop students' poor grades.   (Shutterstock)
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