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States Lax in Overseeing NCLB Tutoring

A key provision of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law--its mandate that struggling schools offer low-income students free after-school tutoring--has gone almost completely unmonitored, a study released by the Center on Education Policy finds. 
 "You can occasionally do some spot checks," says Jeffrey Henig, a professor of political science and education at Columbia University's Teachers College. "But it's very hard to do, and it's not clear that the districts have the manpower or even the desire to work that hard to figure it out."
For a reform designed to give families informed choices, that's a big blow. "Most of the families involved are not shopping around," Henig says. "They don't have a way to evaluate whether what their kid is getting is good or bad."
The No Child Left Behind law comes up for renewal this year, and hearings began this week to start the reauthorization process. But talk so far has focused on teacher-quality provisions and school choice, not the SES provisions. That's in keeping with the first authorization process, Henig says. "Considering the fact that there's a lot of money at stake," he says, "I don't think that most people are really attuned to this. There's probably more attention really to the choice provisions even though it affects fewer kids in practice."  
This article appeared in the March 15, 2007 edition of the U.S. News.  
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