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No Child Left Behind - Federally Financed Tutoring

Apr 5, 2008
The No Child Left Behind Law allows students in schools that have fallen short of performance goals to get free tutoring. With more and more schools and students being classified as 'failing', more families are looking into tutoring. As a result of this, tutoring has become a booming private enterprise. Up to 600,000 students in the US are now receiving tutoring. Tutoring is now being offered by private companies and other groups.

Tutors can be paid over 1,000 and private companies are eager to get involved in this lucrative business. Such companies have offered parents incentives like computers and gift certificates if they sign their child up for their tutoring services. This practice may be unseemly but it is not illegal.

These new tutoring providers are comprised of nonprofit and profit organizations along with faith based organizations. Many times the tutoring offered in not in concert with classroom instruction. Other problems are that sometimes tutors don't show up and tutoring groups of ten or more students do not produce results. There are also few tutoring services available for ESL or special education students.

Of course tutoring is not a bad thing but these new federally financed tutoring programs are not regulated. This concerns school districts and elected officials. Some members of congress want companies that offer private tutoring to be regulated and quality standards introduced. This is to make sure qualified tutors are qualified to work with students and the tutoring companies give services that meet the needs of the student.

There have been problems with tutoring providers in some schools. In Nevada, a school had to call security to remove a tutoring provider because they were harassing families. The parents felt as though they were being pressured to sign their children up for tutoring services. In New York, complaints surfaced about inappropriate incentives being offered to families.

Potential fraud is also an issue. A tutoring company called Platform Learning had to leave seven schools because of the numerous and repeated absences of tutors. Students in need of help are abandoned.
No Child Left Behind requires teachers to be highly qualified but it does not require that of tutors. Standards are lowered because the tutor providers who come in are not familiar with the curriculum, the school or the students.

Some local governments and organizations are trying to improve the situation. The Education Industry Association developed a code of ethics for tutoring providers. In 2005 an education association drafted an ethical code for these tutoring companies to adopt. The code doesn't discuss student achievement but it does urge tutoring providers to refrain from offering incentive to sign up and misrepresenting their services and programs. What prompted the development of the code was that there were reports that a few tutoring providers were giving a sign-on bonus for using their services. Many people were outraged by this. Officials stated that tutoring is not like sports and sign-on bonuses were inappropriate in the academic arena.

Officials believe the tutoring business needs standards if the industry is going to grow and change.
About the Author
Tristan Andrews is a freelance author who writes articles about Tutoring Services and the Tutoring Club.
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