Thanks to Governor Bill Haslam, the Tennessee Virtual Academy is being permitted to keep the 626 students who are new enrollees for the 2014-2015 school year. While the Tennessee Virtual Academy will still face many challenges, these students will be permitted the educational opportunity that they deserve, at least for this school year.
Though nothing has been set in stone yet with regards to the future of TNVA, this year, at least, more than 1800 students will be able to take advantage of a virtual education in the state of Tennessee. This has been a matter of great controversy over the past few days, including a last-minute mandate by Commissioner Kevin Huffman that attempted to stall the enrollment of any and all new TNVA students.
Commissioner Huffman’s mandate, however, has been overturned by the weight of parent after parent who has spoken out in the defense of the Tennessee Virtual Academy. Hundreds of individuals have signed petitions begging the state to allow parents to decide what they want for their children’s education, and still others have shared their stories with their elected representatives and with the Department of Education through its Facebook page.
Many parents are breathing sighs of relief tonight. With school beginning on August 4, attempting to find a new solution for their children would have been a challenge. Thanks to Governor Haslam, however, these parents can rest secure in the knowledge that their children will be pursuing their education in their first-choice location for this school year.
The Tennessee Virtual Academy’s battle is far from over. With low test scores, particularly among first-year students, a constant source of dissent with the state (which refuses to acknowledge the reasons behind those low scores, many of which are at the heart of why the online school is such a necessary institution in the first place), many changes will need to be made this school year if the school wishes to continue as it has thus far.