NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 16, 2006

Nearly four year after President Bush signed the landmark No Child Left Behind education law -- which requires consistently failing schools to offer their students a choice of attending a new school or receiving tutoring -- vast numbers of students are not getting the tutoring that the law offers, says Susan Saulny, of the New York Times.


  • In the nation's largest school district, New York City, fewer than half of the 215,000 eligible students sought the free tutoring in the 2004-2005 school year, and in District 19, in eastern Brooklyn, about 3,700 of the eligible 13,000 completed a tutoring program.
  • Yet, New York's participation rate is better than the national average; roughly two million public school students qualified for tutoring but only 226,000 received help.
  • Additionally, in 2005, only 95,500 of 800,000 eligible students in California were tutored, in Maryland, just over a quarter of those who were eligible -- 5,580 of 19,520 students -- actually enrolled and in Louisiana, about 5,000 of 50,000 eligible students took part in the program.

Officials give multiple reasons for the problems; however, because the initiative is still relatively new and many districts are only now starting tutoring programs, a lack of data exists, says Saulny:

  • Even for those students who are getting tutored, there has yet to be a scientific national study judging whether students in failing schools are receiving any academic benefit, and there is no consensus on how that progress should be judged.
  • Also, it is not entirely clear why so many students do not complete tutoring programs once they have enrolled.

Despite efforts to draw students to tutoring, some say they are not even aware that they may qualify and express confusion about the free program, says Saulny.

Source: Susan Saulny, "Tutor Program Offered By Law Is Going Unused," New York Times, February 12, 2006.

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