Monday, September 23, 2002

Tutoring Choices

New York City appears to be ahead of the game in signing up providers to offer "free" (read tax-supported) tutoring to students stuck in failing schools.

The state just licensed 32 for-profit and nonprofit education firms as eligible to provide such services in some 321 schools throughout the city.

The city Department of Education also has been approved to provide the service.

The private remedial services fall far short of the need. Around 30,000 of the 220,000 thousand eligible students will be offered tutoring—the worst students will receive tutoring first.

Teachers from the various firms will get $800 to $1,300 per student tutored. Even with the limitations this is a windfall for private tutoring companies, who have been trying to break into the Title I/remedial education $13 billion a year federal program for years.

Title I has spent more than $170 billion dollars over the last thirty years with zero results in terms of raising student achievement for low-income students.

Eligible providers include: New York University's Steinhardt School of Education, Compass Learning, Kaplan K-12 Learning Services, Sylvan Learning Center, The Princeton Review, Tutor.Com and Ventures Education Systems Corp.

I hope that performance is a key component of these companies’ contracts with the state. Incentives matter.

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