The Department of Education wrote to the eight remaining un-waivered states providing SES tutoring late last week and gave them a pass for school year 2016-2017; the transition year between NCLB and ESSA.
California, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Washington, Wyoming and Vermont would have (some could say, should have) provided SES tutoring until ESSA kicked in for the 2017-2018 school year.
The Jan. 28 letter from Ann Whalen, senior adviser to acting Education Secretary John King, provided clarity for this transitional year. In exchange for the flexibility, Whalen said that California and the remaining states without statewide waivers will have to create a one-year transition plan for students in schools eligible for these services.
So states can:
- Keep the status quo and continue to provide SES and School Choice.
- Devise a transitional plan for schools that have not attained achievement targets.
The decision allows school districts in California et al to design their own tutoring and support programs and offer them on their own campuses. Thus allowing them to spend the 20% set aside of their Title I funds themselves.
The confusion that I can see is that it is not entirely clear whether the states will make this decision on behalf of their school districts or if school districts can choose to support their high-risk students autonomously. If it’s the state then California has made it abundantly clear that they wish to spend their set aside of approximately $230 million their own way.
So those that want to come up with an alternative plan, can now drop SES but as predicted in my article of December 4th, I do believe that after a few royal mess ups, they will drift back to external providers.
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