As a mandated provision of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Supplemental Education Services (SES) program was intended to be a nationwide framework for providing academic help to families who cannot afford to purchase such assistance on their own. Schools that fail to meet established levels of academic proficiency can use SES programs to help low-income students improve their performance.
In theory, such a program makes perfect sense. But in practice, it doesn't work so well, argues Jeffrey H. Cohen in this Education Week Commentary. Cohen posits that, as a result of the very nature of the funding mechanism for SES, providers and districts are motivated to work in ways counterproductive to the original intent of the program. He offers several modifications to turn the program around.