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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Supplemental Educational Services = Complementary Corporate Income

Madison Avenue would never launch a new product line without extensive research to stand on, and the Dept. of Ed would never consider a federal grant request with no data on effectiveness or ANY PLAN to collect data on effectiveness. Such pragmatic considerations, however, have never stopped the reckless and wasteful practices of this Department of Education--they simply don't care for the niceties of protocol, or even law.

When the school voucher provisions were extracted the final time from the NCLB bill in the Spring of 2001, the corporate tutoring giveaway was quickly offered up as the big greasy sop to the right wing. Now billions of diverted dollars later, it is another prime example of BushCo. squandering of the public trust.

From the Civil Rights Project:
THE CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT/PROYECTO DERECHOS CIVILES, UCLA releases a policy brief on NCLB’s Supplemental Educational Services.

Los Angeles, CA—October 30, 2007—The supplemental educational services (SES) provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act promise to expand educational opportunities by providing low-income families access to the private tutoring market. In this policy brief, the Civil Rights Project at UCLA reviewed data on participation in the program and found that demand for SES has either declined or leveled off after five years. This comes as the number of students eligible for services has increased.

This brief examines trends in the implementation of the NCLB supplemental educational services program over five years (2002-03 to 2006-07) in eleven districts located in six states.

These data show that demand for supplemental educational services has either declined or leveled off after five years. This has come as federal funds allocated for SES increased and as more students have become eligible to receive services. The increase in the absolute
number of students enrolled in SES is related to more schools identified for improvement, and thus, more students eligible to receive services. What is striking is that the increase in the number of eligible students has not translated into an increased demand for SES.

According to Civil Right Project researcher, Gail Sunderman, these findings suggest that the SES market may not work for low-income and minority families as envisioned. “This program was adopted without any prior research on how it might work or whether the intended beneficiaries would participate.” She added that research on supplemental programs suggests that programs that work best are part of a comprehensive approach to school reform rather than an add-on such as SES.

This brief will also be useful to anyone seeking to understand how the SES program is designed and implemented. It providers answers to questions about the SES requirements and examines both the supply and demand side of the SES market.

The policy brief can be found at www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu.

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