No Child Left Behind is another year older, but some things about this train wreck haven’t changed. As you may recall, one major provision of the law requires that students from “failing” schools (er… in need of improvement) be offered after-school tutoring services.

However, again this school year, only a small percentage of the eligible families are taking advantage of these supplemental educational services (SES).

In the nation’s largest school district, New York City, fewer than half of the 215,000 eligible students sought the free tutoring, according to figures from the city’s Department of Education for the school year that ended in June 2005.

Yet New York’s participation rate is better than the national average: across the country, roughly two million public school students were eligible for free tutoring in the school year that ended in 2004, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education, yet only 226,000 – or nearly 12 percent – received help.

There are, of course, many different reasons offered for why students are not taking advantage of a program that costs as much as $1800 per child.

However, there’s a far bigger problem with SES programs: no one has determined if they actually help.

Although NCLB loudly proclaims the need for “research-based” educational programs, no one bothered to do any studies to establish the validity of SES programs before writing the requirement into the law. To make things worse, the feds haven’t even determined the criteria by which to judge whether the programs are successful.

There’s a whole lot of other problems with this fiasco of a program (read the whole article) but that’s certainly should be enough to warrant killing it.

nclb, tutoring, ses