State Wants to Stop Spending on Private Tutors ($9M in Memphis)

On Monday, Memphis school board members will vote on spending more than $9 million in state funds on private tutors for Memphis City Schools students this year as mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind law, according to The Commercial Appeal.
The tutoring kicks in when a student is assigned to a failing school for a third year.
But evidence that the tutoring increases state test scores is so sketchy or nonexistent that state Department of Education officials asked for a waiver from the requirement in July, saying the tens of millions of dollars it is forced to set aside for private tutors would be better spent on longer school days.
The department made the request because “because there is no hard evidence that the services have been effective in raising student achievement,” said spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier.
In Memphis, the recruiting is in full force. Each of the city’s 53 failing schools is holding mandatory tutoring fairs so parents can make their choices.
“The state advised us that we are to proceed with services this year because we don’t know when the waiver will be reviewed,” said Marjorie Douglas, executive director of federal programs, grants and compliance in Memphis, where 27,473 students are eligible for tutoring.
Memphis budgeted $1,444 per student, enough to give the 20 to 25 percent of students who sign up about 30 hours with a private tutor, starting Nov. 1.

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