Online learning quite possibly saved my daughter's high school career, so I am a huge fan. I am NOT, however, a fan of Hamilton County Virtual School. I see many errors in the philosophy of the school system if they plan for Ms. Crabtree to run this program. Hamilton County Virtual School seems to be focusing on ways to keep and gain money rather than on quality learning.
Let me start by explaining my experience. My daughter needed, for medical reasons, to take an online course while attending a Hamilton County High School. Working with Ms. Crabtree was less than professional during the semester she took classes with Hamilton County Virtual School. I had been told of opportunities for my daughter's tuition for the online courses to be waived by my daughter's school, but Ms. Crabtree insisted I pay the course fees. My family would have had difficult time paying for my daughter's online course(s) the second semester, so the administration at the school turned me onto e for Tenn, which also was offered in Hamilton County. This program was run by caring and compassionate people. The teachers contacted my daughter and even ME! regularly and the administration was more than caring and professional, unlike my previous experience. Imagine that! They cared about my daughter and not about money?! My daughter was engaged in the curriculum, much unlike the previous semester when we took classes from Hamilton County Virtual School. My daughter even told me she felt like she learned more in the online classes with e for Tenn than in her regular classes. What made the situation even better was that the e for Tenn, once made aware of our circumstances, was able to waive the fees for my daughter's courses.
I've been reading the articles by Senator Berke, and I agree with him that we should not allow for-profit programs to take our tax dollars for students taking online courses, but what happened to e for Tenn? This article indicates that Union County gets over $5,000 for each student taking an online class, but Hamilton County Virtual says they will work with smaller systems too. Who will get the money then? Aren't they doing the same thing, especially since I know the service is subpar?
I would support a quality program doing something like this, but there is no way Hamilton County virtual School is quality. It too will become a diploma mill, just like K12, inc.