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Lawmakers to Duncan: Keep NCLB's Tutoring Program

As lawmakers gear up to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act— better known No Child Left Behind—one question is what will happen to the free tutoring programs schools are required to offer if they fail to meet the law's achievement targets.

Right now, districts have to put aside money for the tutoring, even if no one is asking for it. And they have to offer it to everyone in the school, even if just one subgroup (say, English-language learners) fails to make adequately yearly progress under the law.

In its blueprint for renewing the law, the administration basically backed away from that requirement. Under their plan, states would get to decide how to intervene in most schools that aren't performing well. That could include tutoring, but it sure doesn't have to.

Now that it's looking increasingly likely that the department may address some of the law's problems through waivers (instead of a reauthorization), lawmakers who represent districts with a lot of black and Hispanic students are asking the department not to waive the tutoring requirement.

They argue that giving districts leeway on the requirement would hurt low-income and minority kids the most. You can check out the full letter here.

Some advocates, including T. Willard Fair, the president of the Urban League of Greater Miami and a former Chairman of the Florida State Board of Education, want to see the reauthorized law keep the requirement that schools offer free tutoring to everyone, not just the kids in subgroups that miss AYP. Fair said in an interview with Politics K-12 that it's necessary to make sure everyone in the school has access to a good education.

What do you think? Do you want to see changes to the tutoring provisions of the law, or do you think it's working well? Comments section is open!

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