Another one of those unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind.
At an estimated $2 billion per year, the market for Supplemental Educational Services (SES) — the voluntary tutoring programs that must be offered to students who attend certain underperforming schools, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) — has become one of the hottest money-making propositions in public education.
Since NCLB’s inception in 2001, hundreds of educational service providers have lined up to cash in on the law’s prove-it-or-lose-it philosophy, which threatens dire consequences for any school that cannot boast improved test scores for all subgroups of students.
As you might expect, there is little or no regulation of the business and even less proof that the programs offered by the SES companies actually work. That brings up another side result of all this: the amount of fraud and waste is also growing quickly. However, don’t worry. After all, $2 billion a year is petty cash that public schools can easily afford to waste.