This week eighth graders will find out if they were accepted to the city’s most competitive high schools. Judging from past admissions data, most students will come from middle to upper class neighborhoods. But there’s also a low-income section of Brooklyn where families have figured out what it takes to get in.
The Department of Education said it changed the way it tests children for gifted and talented programs to make the process more equitable, and harder to prepare for ahead of time. But that hasn’t deterred test-prep companies and some parents eager to get their children into the highly competitive programs.
Now that New York State has a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, it’s identified over 700 schools that must plan improvements – but they will have more flexibility over their funds. A total of 354 of the schools are in New York City.
The city says certain struggling schools no longer have to use their federal money to pay for tutoring services offered free to students, now that New York has won a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. The change has left school communities wondering what extra support will be available in the new school year.
Private tutoring, which has become as ubiquitous for certain students as a calculator or a cellphone, has been much maligned of late, with accusations of giving students an unfair leg up or outright writing papers for students. The writer, who is president of one tutoring company, says it is time for the industry to start setting ethical guidelines for itself.
Once again, a company providing tutoring under the No Child Left Behind law is coming under scrutiny for its billing practices. In an audit, Comptroller John C. Liu questions more than $850,000 in payments the city’s Department of Education made to the Champion Learning Center.
The United States Attorney’s office in Manhattan announced the indictment of one of the largest and most well known private tutoring companies, Princeton Review, for falsifying records and accepting millions of dollars in reimbursements for testing services it never provided to New York City schoolchildren.
Testing, striving and tutoring are very much in the news on this warm April day, the first back from spring break for public school students and staff. The New York Times has a report about the rise in tutoring for elementary school students, in preparation for the standardized exams, which begin this week. The results of the gifted and talented testing are in. And there is worry about graduation rates now that senior have to pass five Regents exams to earn their diplomas.
Some 3,500 New York City public school students will not lose free tutoring services this week, now that the city has reversed its decision to limit the services for financial reasons.
State education officials should be setting performance standards for private and nonprofit companies that provide tutoring services to children in low-performing schools, instead of trying to get the federal government to let them use tutoring funds for other services, the writer says.
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