To the Editor:
Thank you, Joan Jacobson, for shedding a truthful and critical light on one of the most ineffective and highly privatized components of the No Child Left Behind Act, supplemental educational services, in the (“Federal Tutoring Program Is Deeply Flawed,” December 14, 2011.) Commentary on that subject.
From year one of NCLB, a Title I school in my district had to provide supplementary educational services, or SES, and our district began by developing our own program, hiring our own teachers to tutor, and getting the official blessing of the state. That didn’t last long. We were informed in the subsequent year that the law mandated outside, private tutoring companies.
When we questioned the value of bringing in agencies that knew nothing about our students, we were told we could not hire our teachers, as they were responsible for the failures to begin with. Shaking our heads in disbelief, we complied and discontinued our own programs, only to find out later that these private companies were hiring our teachers to tutor.
This blatant attempt to steer public funds toward private companies was a rude awakening to the world of NCLB. What a scam. Let’s hope that Ms. Jacobson’s essay and other research like hers will convince lawmakers to eliminate SES for good.
Oak Lawn, Ill.
The writer is an assistant superintendent for Community High School District 218 in Oak Lawn, Ill.
A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Jacobson Got It Right in Commentary On Flaws in SES Tutoring Program