The Department of Education has sought to clarify that school districts may not alter the instruction-related criteria states set for providers of supplemental educational services under the No Child Left Behind Act.
“We understand that a number of [districts] have imposed, or are considering conditions related to issues of program design,” Raymond Simon, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, wrote to state officials on Aug. 26. He cited as an example a district requiring that providers may employ only state-certified teachers.
“These types of requirements—which relate to whether a provider has an effective educational program—may not be imposed by [districts], because they would undermine the state’s authority to set criteria,” Mr. Simon said.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, if a school does not make adequate yearly progress for at least three straight years, children from low-income families are eligible for supplemental services and are permitted a choice of public and private providers.
Bruce Hunter, the chief lobbyist for the American Association of School Administrators, said he believes the letter is consistent with federal regulations, but he argued that it’s wrong to exclude the “professional judgment of teachers and educators who actually know the kids and have a chance to see the service providers in action,” he said.