Secretary Spellings Highlights Student Achievement at Supplemental Education Services and School Choice Summit
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today delivered remarks at the National Summit on Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and Public School Choice in Arlington, Va. She discussed the value of the school choice options and free tutoring available to families under No Child Left Behind. She also announced the results of a study focusing on the achievement of students participating in SES in nine large urban districts.
“This report reinforces what I hear from parents from across the country—that SES is helping more students achieve,” said Secretary Spellings. “SES is a lifeline for students who need more resources and parents who want more options. And research shows that students benefiting from SES are improving in both their reading and math skills.”
The report, State and Local Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act: Volume I—Title I School Choice, Supplemental Educational Services, and Student Achievement, shows that SES is effective in improving student achievement and has an even greater impact as students continue in the program. There was not a large enough participation rate to get a clear picture of the effects on student achievement when students transfer under the public school choice provisions of the law. However, the research shows that students who did transfer schools under the public school choice provisions moved to higher-performing schools that were more racially balanced.
Highlights from the report include:
Students who participated in supplemental educational services scored higher in both reading and math in the first year and even better in the second and subsequent years
African-American and Hispanic students had the highest participation rates in supplemental educational services
Limited English proficient students and students with disabilities had relatively high participation rates in SES
Students who participated in school choice transferred from schools with below average achievement levels to schools with higher-than-average achievement scores, and they chose schools that were racially balanced
At the summit, the Department also distributed a draft handbook that shares ideas and strategies on a variety of issues related to implementing public school choice and SES effectively. The content of the handbook comes largely from the outreach tour that the Department conducted during the 2006-07 school year with 14 school districts. The main topics of the handbook include reaching and informing parents and implementing SES and public school choice. The Department will include feedback from the summit participants in the handbook and will issue a final version later this summer.
The U.S. Department of Education is working to help students access options for free tutoring more easily and to help schools do a better job of implementing them. Under its NCLB reauthorization proposal, for example, the Department will:
Allow schools to make tutoring available to students as soon as it knows a school needs improvement
Provide more funding for free tutoring to students who need more help—such as those in rural areas, English language learners, and those with disabilities
Give districts more discretion in using federal dollars to inform parents of their options and to operate the program
For more information on Supplemental Educational Services, go to http://www.ed.gov/nclb/choice/help/ses/index.html
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