Schools Can't Prove Taxpayer-Funded Tutoring Helps

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

After years of offering private tutoring required by the federal No Child Left Behind law, school districts nationwide can?t prove that it has helped educational achievement.

While parents and tutors say individual students demonstrate big gains, only three of the 19 schools offering the program here met federal learning benchmarks last year.

California, Montana and Tennessee are asking the federal Department of Education to let them use the tutoring money for other measures to help students, such as longer school days and years.

The school district here uses about $6 million of its $33 million Title I federal money for private tutoring. Nearly 50 companies vie for 17,000 eligible students.

?If the program were to go away, we wouldn?t have jobs,? said Director Rebecca Rosenblatt of Tutoring Unlimited, which was paid $450,000 last year and employs 75. ?I don?t think it?s a great decision to take away extra help given to students after school at all.?

Monnie Adereti said her son, a junior at Antioch High School, raised his B?s to A?s in math last year after his school was forced to offer him private tutoring.
?If they continue the program, it will be very beneficial,? she said.

The decade-old No Child Left Behind law included private tutoring as a way to help impoverished students in struggling schools ? those that fail to meet federal testing benchmarks for three or more years. The idea was that educators from outside the system would offer innovative ways for children to learn.

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