Education Reform – Duncan to Florida: Tutoring Doesn’t Work

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May 182012

Education Reform – Duncan to Florida: Tutoring Doesn’t Work

Education Reform: By Alyson Klein on May 17, 2012 3:39 PM

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said today he doesn’t understand why Florida passed a law requiring districts to continue offering free tutoring to students in struggling schools.

Florida is one of 11 states that got a waiver from many of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. That means districts in the Sunshine State no longer have to put aside 20 percent of their Title I money for tutoring and school choice.

But lawmakers in Florida still think tutoring is a good idea and passed a law requiring districts to set aside 15 percent of their Title I funding for the program. The law takes effect in July.

Duncan doesn’t think that was a smart move, and said so at a meeting of the Florida Council of 100, a non-profit organization comprised of business leaders in the state that advises the governor and other policy makers on key issues.

He pointed to a recent U.S. Department of Education study, which examined so-called “oversubscribed” school districts in three states, Connecticut, Ohio, and Florida. Oversubscribed districts are rare and basically are those that have schools where more students wanted tutoring services than the district could afford to help. In those cases, schools prioritize the most academically needy students. The study looked at kids who got the services, and those who just barely missed out. And it found that there wasn’t a substantial difference in achievement between the students who got the tutoring and those that didn’t.

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