Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Miseducation of NEO, Pt. 1: The PD on NCLB Tutoring

Yesterday's PeeDee ran a doubly disturbing piece on the business of tutoring kids under the No Child Left Behind Act. To reset: Under the NCLB, a school district that has failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress three years in a row must pay for tutoring for students that want it.

The NCLB leaves it to states to establish the rules for tutoring. Disturbing factor #1 in the PD piece is the snippets of information indicating that Ohio is adopting a Wild West model:

Mangan's employer, Education Recovery Clinic of Indiana, pays teachers $125 an hour to tutor up to five students per session. Because competition is stiff, her company offers $100 to each student who finishes all sessions, which is between 20 and 30.
Don't we usually call that a kickback?

Elsewhere we learn that:
Not all tutoring is face-to-face. A quarter of the companies registered in Ohio work with students online.

One is Tutorial Services, an online business started by Tom Allor, a Detroit high school teacher. He came to Ohio partly because the Michigan education department turned down his application to tutor there.
Which leads me to the second distubing aspect of the story: The PD's inability to fill in blanks and connect dots. Are Ohio's tutor regulations looser than in other states? If so, why? Does it have anything to do with the election year generosity of David Brennan, Concerned Citizen who, as it happens, has a computer heavy NCLB tutoring business of his own? Bear in mind, this is a long shelflife story. The PD had no reason to rush it to print as underreported as it is.

I have boxed the BJ's ears on this blog and will do so again. But it has excellent education coverage, mostly thanks to the work of Doug Oplinger and Dennis Willard. They didn't cover this story, but when they get to it, count on a richer backdrop.