"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, August 04, 2006

GAO Report Shows ED's Culpability in Tutoring Funds Giveaway

Part of the ongoing corruption that permeates NCLB is the unregulated and unaccountable permission given by ED to tutoring companies to drain off 20 percent from every watch-listed school’s Title 1 budget for supplemental tutoring. This sad fact is confirmed in the latest GAO Report on Supplemental Education Services (pdf), where the case is clear against ED for its lack of standards, oversight, and guidance to states who are now strapped with devising accountability plans for these bottom-feeding tutoring outfits who are accountable to no one for improving student achievement. This from the Report Highlights (pdf):
Although states are required to withdraw approval from providers that fail to increase student academic achievement for 2 years, many states struggle to develop meaningful SES evaluations. While a few states have completed evaluations, none provides a conclusive assessment of SES providers’ effect on student academic achievement.

Several Education offices monitor SES activity across the country and provide SES support to states and districts through written guidance, grants, and technical assistance. However, states and districts reported needing additional SES evaluation support and technical assistance. For example, 85 percent of states reported needing assistance with methods for evaluating SES. Many also voiced interest in Education’s pilot programs that increase SES flexibility, including the one that allowed certain districts identified as in need of improvement to act as providers.
Many of the hurdles to getting students extra tutoring help could be overcome by expanding permission to districts to act as providers, instead of bringing in corporate tutoring companies that are much more expensive and less accessible to many students. But that solution would have to be explained by ED to the education industry that bought this part of the legislation to begin with. In short, don’t hold your breath.

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