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: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

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

Readers also liked…

  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation