Underachieving School Districts Shouldn't Be Eligible to Offer Federally-Funded Tutoring, Boehner Says
April 26, 2005
WASHINGTON , D.C. - Witnesses testifying before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce today urged the federal government to maintain high expectations for tutoring providers that are offering federally-funded supplemental educational services to children under the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act. Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH) said ensuring federal tutoring funds are spent responsibly should start with ensuring underachieving school districts are not eligible for those funds.
"If you hire a plumber to fix your sink and he doesn't deliver, you don't reward him by hiring him to fix the bathtub. The same principle should apply when it comes to school districts," said Boehner. "School districts identified as underachieving through the No Child Left Behind Act shouldn't be allowed to provide remedial tutoring to the students they are in danger of leaving behind. To do so would make a mockery of the entire Act. And the children in those schools deserve better."
"The tutoring options made available to students through No Child Left Behind are meant to provide a supplement for the questionable education those children are receiving from their public schools - not an expansion of that questionable education," Boehner said. "Republicans agree private tutoring providers should be held to high standards, but ensuring federal tutoring funds are spent responsibly starts with ensuring underachieving public school districts are not eligible for those funds. My hope is that Secretary Spellings and the Education Department will continue to make clear that if a district isn't getting the job done with federal dollars in the classroom for children, it won't be entrusted with the responsibility of using federal dollars to provide remedial tutoring for children, either."
Boehner noted that he and other legislators during the NCLB drafting process in 2001 believed the law should specify that school districts identified under No Child Left Behind as underachieving or needing improvement should not be permitted to serve as tutoring providers. Supplemental educational services, after all, are meant to provide a supplement for the education children are not receiving from underachieving school districts as those districts work to improve, Boehner noted.
Instead, Boehner said, the final law "effectively left it to the U.S. Secretary of Education to determine whether an underachieving school district could provide supplemental services to its students. . .[and while] the Secretary has implemented regulations that prohibit a district identified as in need of improvement from serving as a tutoring provider, some districts have challenged that regulation."
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