Is This the End of Free Tutoring? NCLB Waivers and the Future of SES

An NCLB initiative, the Supplementary Educational Services (SES) program provides free tutoring to low-income students who attend certain underperforming schools.

Title I schools (a minimum of 40 percent of students come from low-income families) that have not shown AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress, a metric designated by the Dept. Of Ed.) in three years receive SES. The U.S. government has been spending millions of dollars to pay tutors to offer their services to the students at these schools.

Recently, the Obama Administration has given states the option to waive some of the more punishing provisions of NCLB, as long as each state continues to make reforms that will improve the educational standards of the state and continues to report student achievement data to the Department of Education.

Sixty percent of states have been approved for NCLB waivers and more are on the way. Unfortunately, many of them have indicated that they will either be discontinuing SES or dramatically slashing its budget. This means that hundreds of thousands of families will see their children lose their tutors, and nearly as many tutors will no longer be receiving their pay checks.

One of the benefits of SES was that teachers, school districts, and tutors had an incentive to connect with one another. Data and approval requirements encouraged schools to create lists of approved tutors and educational resources to help the students who needed it most. Tutors and educators were incentivized to reach out and work with schools in order to receive government funding to help the nation's most needy students.

It is our hope that students and tutors will find a way not to be compromised by these waivers, and that Noodle can lend a hand by helping them connect with each other through out Tutor Search.

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