A key provision of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law–its mandate that struggling schools offer low-income students free after-school tutoring–has gone almost completely unmonitored, a study released by the Center on Education Policy finds.
Private tutoring companies have jumped to take advantage of the law's "supplemental education services," or SES, provision, which divvies up a pot each year estimated to be as large as $2.5 billion. But though companies produce rosy reports, very few states and districts have any idea whether the tutoring is actually helping students learn. More than two thirds of states told CEP they have a tough time monitoring SES programs for quality and effectiveness, and three said they are "not at all" able to monitor them.
The flowing federal money paired with very little oversight is "a recipe for disaster," says Jack Jennings, CEP's president.
"You have people's tax dollars that are going out the door, and nobody knows how much is going out the door, and nobody knows whether it's resulting in any good," Jennings says.
In fact, two states and at least two school districts have studied the programs, but their findings have not been encouraging. A 2006 study by the Los Angeles Unified School District found that SES programs improved test scores minimally, but just in elementary and middle school students, and most significantly (though still very little) for students attending a district-provided program that no longer exists.
The Chicago public schools study, conducted in August 2005, found similar results; tutored students showed reading score gains of just 1.09 points, compared with an average 1.06 points gained citywide (1.0 is a full year's growth). Tutored students' math scores grew less than a full year's expected gain, and less than the citywide average. . . .
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Thursday, March 15, 2007
NCLB Tutoring Corruption in Billions
And the picture just keeps getting clearer and clearer. From U. S. News: