School accountability, Arkansas-style: Virtual profits despite faulty math, low scores | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 18, 2017

School accountability, Arkansas-style: Virtual profits despite faulty math, low scores

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 7:19 AM

click to enlarge screen_shot_2017-05-18_at_7.10.11_am.png
Short version of article this morning in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about the unanimous recommendation of a state Education Department panel to allow the Arkansas Virtual Academy, a "virtual charter school," expand enrollment from 2,000 to 3,000 students:

A school that has been unable for months to provide a consistent and accurate enrollment count and which scores at virtually every grade below state averages got a vote to expand by 50 percent.

The Little Rock School District, meanwhile, remains under state control and will remain so if devoted foes like state School Board members Diane Zook and Brett Williamson continue to hold sway.

Relevant background not included in morning story:

* State Education Commissioner Johnny Key (boss of charter panel employees) was the state senator who used the underhanded "special language" process to raise an initial cap on virtual charter enrollment from 500.

* The "Virtual Academy" gets more than $6,000 in state dollars per student ($6 million more per year under the latest change, if ratified by the state Board of Education) though it has no gyms, band rooms, cafeterias, bus systems or faculty commensurate with those of brick-and-mortar school districts. It functions as an adjunct, particularly in elementary grades, to parents' home schooling.

* The "Virtual Academy" is an affiliate of K12, a private, profit-making corporation. Critics say it makes money off public dollars (thus straining conventional schools) without demonstrating much value. It disputes this, of course. According to its most recent financial report, the non-profit "Arkansas Virtual Academy" paid $7.8 million of its $10.7  million in annual state revenue to its "third-party management agent." That would be, you guessed it, K12 of Herndon, Va. Read more here about K12 — fat pay to execs, poor academic performance, chummy associations with conservative politicians and the American Legislative Exchange Council — and you'll see why they are such a good fit in Arkansas. Good luck penetrating how that money is spent by the way — K12 is beyond the reach of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Tags: , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Motorist who reportedly pulled knife killed after I-40 traffic stop

    The State Police is investigating the shooting death of an Interstate 40 driver who reportedly pulled a knife on a Pope County deputy after a traffic stop about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in Conway County. The driver hasn't been identified.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • There he goes again: Tom Cotton dishonest about food stamps

    The U.S. Senate approved a farm bill yesterday that didn't go far enough in punishing poor people for the likes of Sen. Tom Cotton, one of 12 Republicans who voted no. Then he chose to, well, lie about it in defending his vote against the interest of farmers, the largest sector of the Arkansas economy.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • The rich get richer: IRS enforcement

    If recent tax cuts overwhelmingly favor the rich (and they do) shouldn't tax law enforcement also favor the rich? It does, says a report from Pro Publica.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Presidential thriller, co-author Bill Clinton, coming to bookstores in 2018

    June 2018 is the expected publication date for a novel collaboration by former President Bill Clinton and crime writer James Patterson.
    • May 9, 2017
  • ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.
    • Jan 10, 2018
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation