Tennessee Virtual Academy Draws Interest & Concern

A Tennessee statewide virtual school received some love from the Knoxville News Sentinel editorial board

Tennessee has been in the online education world for some time, but the new Tennessee Virtual Academy based in Union County promises to kick the process up a couple of notches. Indeed, it might well figure into serious education reform. The academy will open next month and serve students from across the state in kindergarten through the eighth grade. The academy will use the curriculum of K12 Inc., a provider of online school programs claiming to have enrolled about 70,000 students in 21 states.

But Commercial Appeal took the ‘stealing money from districts’ approach.  The business news website is apparently outraged that TVA was advertising and even had a facebook page.  The pile-on comments are mostly inaccurate or just snarky.
Union County Public Schools, the TVA host, will receive $5,387 from the state for each student and a portion of that will go to K12.  That’s a bargain and a lot less than the state pays for kids in traditional schools.  The school will need limited facilities and no meals or transportation, so some savings are being realized.
However, the school will have a full complement of teachers with staffing patterns not dissimilar to traditional schools.  Many online students note even more personal attention learning online compared to traditional schools.
K12 runs a solid academic program with talented and committed teachers.  TVA will be a great option for student in Knoxville and Memphis and across Tennessee.  In addition to full time options like TVA, more kids across Tennessee will have access to part time online enrollment through their district school.  Through expanding full and part time options, Tennessee kids are gaining valuable educational options.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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