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Published in Print: September 25, 2002, as Critics Contend Tutors Must Also Be 'Highly Qualified'

Critics Contend Tutors Must Also Be 'Highly Qualified'

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Several education groups are urging the Department of Education to rethink draft regulations that would prohibit states from holding providers of extra academic help to the same standards the federal government is demanding of public school instructors.

Under the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001, districts with consistently low-performing schools must allow students a choice of supplemental educational services, such as tutoring or after-school programs. Each state is required to approve a list of providers.

National groups representing state and union leaders complain that under draft rules for the Title I program issued in August, the department said states could neither require such providers to meet teacher-quality requirements in the law nor demand that providers submit proof that their instructional services are based on "scientifically based" research.

The draft rules instead say states must set approval criteria that are based on a "demonstrated record of effectiveness."

Critics call that a double standard.

"This proposed regulation ... runs counter to the administration's commitment to high-quality instruction and the use of scientifically based instructional methods," the Council of Chief State School Officers said in Sept. 5 comments on the rules. The National Education Association suggested that states be permitted to approve only providers who meet the "highly qualified" teacher definition.

"We were pretty strong in our sense that it is ill-advised for states to say only certified teachers can provide supplemental services," replied Undersecretary of Education Eugene W. Hickok. "That robs students of a lot of talent out there," such as college professors, he said.

Vol. 22, Issue 4, Page 26

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