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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Should Pinellas do No Child tutoring?



From the Dec. 16 "Friday Update" to Pinellas school board members: Representatives from district leadership attended a Florida Department of Education technical assistance workshop Dec. 9 to learn more about how the district could become a direct provider of supplemental educational services (SES). As you know, school districts with Title I schools that have not made Adequate Yearly Progress for three consecutive years in reading and/or math are required to offer supplemental educational services for eligible students. Services may include tutoring, remediation and academic intervention, and must take place outside the regular school day.

Currently in Pinellas, parents choose an SES provider from among providers approved by the state. Hillsborough and Leon counties, on the other hand, have been direct providers of SES services for several years. Next steps in Pinellas’ exploration of the idea of becoming a direct provider include investigating how the initiative is working in Hillsborough and a Cabinet-level discussion about the pros and cons of submitting an application.

We're not sure how this fits into the big picture of No Child tutoring requirements; if anybody knows, by all means, shed some light. If we understand it right, the U.S. DOE is offering flexibility through waivers to the NCLB requirement that districts set aside 20 percent of their Title I money to provide tutoring and transportation to kids in Title I schools that fail to meet adequate yearly progress two years in a row or more. The state of Florida, in its waiver application, is asking for flexibility there, but it's not clear what it's planning to do instead.

As we've noted before, Florida schools are spending a ton of Title I money on No Child tutoring - about $344 million in the past three years alone - with virtually all of it provided by the private sector. There have been questions since the beginning about effectiveness.

Would it be better for the kids if districts provided the tutoring? Along with the tutoring companies? Instead of the tutoring companies?

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 12:19pm]


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