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Report cards grade most Wisconsin virtual schools "incomplete"

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Most of Wisconsin's public online schools have received grades of "incomplete" -- and the rest are not doing so well as a group. 

The state's educational report cards included ratings for 8 of the 28 virtual schools in the Badger State. Of the eight, just four met or exceeded performance expectations outlined in the state's new accountability standards. 

The eight schools had just over 4,700 students in the past school year. The other 20 virtual schools served about 1,700 students combined. 

State officials did not grade them because they were small, were less than three years old, or did not have students who took the state's achievement exam. 

Teaching veteran Tom Young runs the E-Achieve Academy in Waukesha. He says virtual schools help some students fit in with the public education system, and he believes online schools should no longer be judged as a whole. 

It was only five years ago when those schools needed to band together to avoid become extinct.

A state appeals court had recommended that taxpayers stop funding online schools. That sprung virtual school advocates into action, and the governor and Legislature ended up approving a new funding plan. 

That was back when Wisconsin had just 12 virtual schools -- less than half of what it has now.