Richard Buery on the Huffington Post: Let Education Reform Blossom in New York
Just weeks after President Obama awarded New York State a reform-friendly waiver to onerous federal "No Child Left Behind" education rules, for-profit education firms are threatening to strangle the new reforms in the crib.
At issue is the federal Supplemental Education Services (SES) program, which currently diverts hundreds of millions of federal Title 1 dollars from school districts to outside tutoring providers. A few of these outside groups do good work. But multiple reports and investigations of the SES program have shown bloated budgets, profiteering and corruption. An evaluation of the implementation of SES revealed that providers were providing, on average, only 45 hours of services to these high-need students. And national evaluations sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences, most recently by the leading educational evaluation firm Mathematica Policy Research, have found that SES has little to no impact on raising student achievement. Current SES programs are often poorly coordinated with school-day instruction, and success is often driven more by marketing budgets than impact on students. New York can put these funds to better use.