Steve Pines, EIA
Eleven states submitted applications last November and all have now been approved. These actions, while limiting SES in its current form, create new opportunities for creative education entrepreneurs with good products/services. States and School Districts will have new accountability standards that will continue to identify poor-performing schools and students in subgroups that will trigger interventions. And with fewer set-asides on their Title I funding, administrators will have new flexibility to make investments that they prioritize.
Of course, this requires a new mindset in selling solutions to schools that builds on operators having sound relationships with decision-makers. The winning strategy is to bring the solution that school leaders seek (backed up with evidence of effectiveness) and let the district best determine the funding source. Of course, Title I will continue to be the main target.
High-quality tutoring is not going away; it will just have to be accessed under new business terms with school buyers. Parent choice, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be a critical factor in future buying decisions in the era of waivers.
The new interventions will include school turn-around strategies, school management, drop-out prevention, credit recovery and recovery of drop-outs, special education, English-Language Learners, 21st Century Learning Centers, professional development for teachers and school leaders, tutoring and extended learning time (longer school day, summer), personalized learning driven by formative assessments, tech-based solutions that support teachers for instruction and that extend learning opportunities for students after the regular class time, and test prep for ACT, SAT, AP, etc and other standardized tests.
It is estimated that about 20% or 175,000 of SES students reside in those already-approved states with most in FL and CO– two of the 11 approved States that appear to have retained a semblance of after-school tutoring. Other states with some level of a mandated SES program include: AK, GA, IL, OH, NY, SC,
On Feb. 28, 2012, 26 States and the District of Columbia submitted waiver applications to the USDE. Results of these applications will not be known for another three months but it appears that the USDE is trying hard to approve all applications they receive while maintaining at least the appearance of a high bar of accountability in exchange for flexibility from NCLB mandates.
Another 11 states are still on the sidelines and have not yet submitted a letter of intent to apply for a waiver, including big states like CA, TX, PR and PA which collectively serve over 275,000 SES students. It is quite possible that the USDE may grant a “mini-waiver” to these States in time for the 2012-13 school year that will have the effect of freezing those states’ AMOs at 2011 levels, the benchmarks used to identify struggling schools. This would keep school improvement interventions like Choice and SES in place but be limited to the schools already identified in the current school year—no additional schools would be eligible for these mandated services. Of course, political pressure from states seeking alternate forms of a waiver could yield an entirely different outcome.
And large districts in states that don’t seek a State waiver may attempt a “district-level” waiver from USDE, but this has drawn the ire of State education association leaders that fear their state prerogatives becoming over-run or by-passed.
Here is what we know based on a preliminary review of APPROVED applications; further analysis is forthcoming.
CO: The only state so far approved by USDE that explicitly continues SES for a smaller subset of identified schools. The set-aside is reduced to 15% and would fund tutoring and extended learning time (XLT) for about 50% of the currently served 8,000 SES students.
FL: No set aside is mentioned in federal waiver application but the State Legislature just passed HB 7127 that creates a 15% set aside for tutoring. The FLDoE pressed ahead with its March SES provider application in anticipation of a Fall tutoring program. In the approved waiver application, for Focus schools (D schools) 300 hours of additional instructional time per student is required; 60% thru XTL and 40% thru targeted before, after and summer. Also, it is likely that LEAs will have greater authority to select a more limited range of providers from the State-list, and then have parents choose their provider. And the level of a set-aside may be made at the LEA level. Currently, about 72,000 SES students are served in FL.
GA: Continues a 5% set-aside in a Flexible Learning Program that includes tutoring. Currently, about 13,000 students are served.
MA: Has 25% set aside for a broad set of potential interventions. No specific reference to tutoring but the State has been a leader in the use of XLT. Currently, about 10,000 SES students are served.
MN: Has about 20% set aside for interventions but no specific reference to tutoring.
KY: No mention of student interventions like tutoring.
IN: No mention of student interventions like tutoring.
TN: State gives authority/discretion to LEAs to use Choice and/or XLT but no set aside is mentioned.
NJ: No set aside but SEA and LEAs can create opportunities for student interventions.
NM: Has a 20% set aside with the LEA having discretion for interventions-no mandates.
OK: Has a set aside and lists tutoring in attachment as 1 of 21 approved interventions
As of March 15, For the Just-Submitted waiver Applications, we know:
AR: No set aside but SES/Choice required for Focus schools funded out of Title I or state categorical funds. Priority schools to use external providers for turnaround. Out of school learning opportunities to be encouraged. No #11 waiver sought.
AZ: No set asides and no required use of SES, but Choice is required. In Priority Schools, additional learning time or tutoring is required.
CT: Continues 20% set aside but SES is not required. Funds may be used for extended learning time (XLT), Saturday academies and evidence-based interventions. State will establish list of approved external providers for turnaround.
DC: Allows some form of tutoring but not required.
DE: No set aside for SES/Choice but XLT is encouraged
ID: Maintains a 20% set aside called Supplemental Tutoring Services but no mandated use of external providers
IL: Has a 10% set aside for Priority Schools (STAR Level 1 schools) that mandates SES and extended learning time specifically for the 2013 SY, and then on undefined sliding scale in later years.
IO: 20% set aside continues for XLT like tutoring, summer, etc that is designed by each district; but SES and Choice are not mandated. In Priority schools, turnaround uses a RTI-like model.
KS: Has a set aside, but no mandated interventions like tutoring
MD: Has a set aside, but no mandated interventions like tutoring
MI: Has a new tiered system of student support
MO: No mandated interventions like tutoring
NY: No mandated interventions like tutoring
OH: SES is required in Priority schools for lowest achieving students, coupled with XLT, at the option of the district.
OR: No mandated interventions like tutoring.
RI: School districts can seek SES and PD set aside from state, but optional. no to waiver #11.
SC: 20% is maintained and requires SES in its current form for Priority ; no to waiver #11.
SD: Focus schools may include tutoring as a required intervention; uses Academy for Pace-setting District. Use RTI model and XLT. No to waiver #11.
UT: No SES or set asides; yes to waiver #11. uses Title for PD, data, and program monitoring.
VT: No set asides or SES mandates. Priority schools use Academy of Pace-setting districts; and XLT
VA: Maintains 20% set aside but not mandated services like SES. In Focus Schools, LEAs must use research based instructional interventions, and they are to hire an external contractor that provides academic review/accreditation-like analysis and plan implementation. Services include PD, strategic planning, data-driven assessments. yes to waiver #11.
WA: No mandated interventions like tutoring
WI: Maintains 20% set-aside with at least 5% for XLT based on LEAs plans submitted to the State. Includes much parent choice in guiding decisions at LEA level. No to waiver #11.
Applications from LA, MS, NCs are not easily accessible at the time of this report, but they are posted at www.ed.gov s. At that time, additional analysis will be conducted.
The House Education and Workforce Committee on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 marked up two bills that are part of the Committee’s overall approach to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as “No Child Left Behind.” The action was based on Chairman Kline’s introduction of substitute bills for each of the original proposals, as is the prerogative of the Chair.
This said, perhaps the most important point to be made is that the prospect for Congressional action on ESEA in 2012 is, at best, highly remote.
Meantime, the Senate HELP Committee has completed action on its version of ESEA reform that was based largely on the Administration’s ESEA Blueprint. The Senate bill has no mandated interventions for students in the worst schools, and allows States more latitude to set up teacher evaluation systems. With the Presidential election later this year, and potential shifts in Congress, it is too early and unclear if action on ESEA will even be taken up 2013!
Having said this, these bills do establish “policy markers” that will be helpful in the future. Based on what EIA knows today, here is a first-pass overview and analysis of the legislation and waivers recently approved and others submitted to USDE.
In H.R. 3989- The Student Success Act:
- No AYP system at federal level, but states have to establish their own accountability systems for schools.
- Modeled, in part, on the EIA policy recommendations, a new tutoring program is created called Direct Student Services (DSS). It is a state- level competitive grant funded out of Title I-SIG funds that LEAs apply for– new funds that they would not ordinarily receive.
- In this DSS program, up to 3% of state Title I is set aside for Choice or high-quality tutoring; this creates about $450,000,000 in funding for SES-like services nationally; compared to about $700MM that is currently being spent on SES.
- External providers are approved by States and LEAs get to select from among this list, a subset of providers that include a cross section of online, on site, in-home providers.
- LEAs determine student eligibility and the PPA sufficient to buy a reasonable batch of hours
- The Act also eliminates the Maintenance of Effort requirements in current law.
H.R. 3990 The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act :
- New grant program that uses part of Title I that in the past has been used for class-size reduction, and now caps those uses/expenditures at 10% and the remaining funds reserved for professional development of teachers and school leaders. Of this, about 25% or $3BB has to be competitively bid with private companies able to directly bid for PD.
- Another pot of funds that totals approximately $2.6BB, Section 3204 called Local Competitive Grants, includes 21st CLC, of which 85% goes in grants to LEAs that have to partner with external agencies to receive funds and buy tutoring, and other services.
- Another 10% of the total, called Private Sector Initiatives, is reserved for applicants from external providers separate from LEAs.
- New Section 3205 Grants to NGO’s to improve academic achievement. State grants to NGOs that use evidence-based interventions; requires a 50% match.
In summary: both bills passed out of the House Committee on party-line voting but no action is likely on the House Floor this year.