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Posts tagged: Idaho Virtual Academy

Charter schools get first state payments for buildings, online academy gets the most

Controversial legislation that passed last year gives state funding through a formula to charter schools for their building and facility needs; the first payments have now gone out, reports Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News, and they exceeded estimates at $2.03 million, compared to the estimated $1.4 million. The biggest payment of the batch went to the Idaho Virtual Academy, which has its students learn at home rather than in classrooms; it got $132,330. The new law gives charter schools a per-student amount through a formula based on how much traditional schools raise for buildings through local voter-approved bonds and facility levies. Richert’s full report is online here.

IDVA confirms it outsourced Idaho students’ essays to India for grading in past

Idaho’s largest charter school, the online Idaho Virtual Academy, has confirmed that it sent student essays to India for grading in 2007, Boise State Public Radio reports this morning. The 3,000-student public virtual school contracts with K12 Inc., a for-profit company, for its curriculum and management; K12 Inc. spokesman Jeff Kwitkowski told the public radio station, “It was a pilot program designed to help teachers provide more assistance on reviewing papers. It was six years ago, it was a short pilot program and it ended soon thereafter.”

Other reports suggest more than 3,000 IDVA students’ essays were sent to India, BSPR reports. Though it’s several years old, the matter has gained new attention in Idaho since Travis Manning, a Caldwell teacher, penned an op-ed piece about it published in several Idaho newspapers and online news outlets this fall. Manning told BSPR that after running across references to the 2007 incident, “I thought to myself, huh, I don’t remember this story ever breaking in Idaho about any Idaho online schools outsourcing student essays overseas.”

The public radio station reported that while the matter remained low-profile, Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission wrote to IDVA inquiring about it in 2008, raising concerns about possible violations of student privacy laws. You can read BSPR’s full report here, and Manning’s op-ed here at Idaho EdNews.

K12 virtual school students lag behind, report says

Students taking online classes from K12 Inc. in four states, including Idaho, are lagging in test scores and graduation rates compared to students in traditional schools, according to a new study by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. The study “raises enormous red flags,” center director Kevin Welner told the Associated Press. K12 Inc. is the nation's largest for-profit online education provider, and it runs Idaho's largest charter school, the Idaho Virtual Academy, a state-funded online charter school that enrolls nearly 3,000 Idaho children across the state in kindergarten through 12th grade. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.

Note: The Idaho Statesman has a story today questioning the study's application to Idaho, as Idaho math and reading assessment results weren't out yet when the center did its analyses and therefore were missing from the study; Welner apologized to the Statesman and told the newspaper, “Idaho is not a focus of the achievement-outcome analyses.” The AP report on the data issues is included with the original article below.

K12 Inc., operator of two Idaho virtual charter schools, sued by shareholders

K12 Inc., the Virginia-based public virtual school operator, has been sued in federal court in a shareholder class-action suit charging that the company violated securities laws by making false statements to investors about its students' performance on standardized tests, the Washington Post reports. The newspaper also reports that the firm's stock has plummeted since a series of reports in the Washington Post, New York Times and elsewhere in recent months raising questions about the effectiveness of its online virtual schools; you can read the Post's full report here. K12 operates the Idaho Virtual Academy and the iSucceed Virtual High School in Idaho; K12 Inc. is the nation's largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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