UCA News, originally published 6/1/12
The University of Central Arkansas has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its Upward Bound program.
Upward Bound helps first-generation college students who are of low socio-economic status. The program provides services for students who need academic support in order to pursue an education beyond high school. The grant will be used to provide free services for 58 students from Perryville, Bigelow, Morrilton, Mayflower and Nemo Vista high schools, said Nancy Burris, director of Upward Bound. Services are provided during the nine-month academic year and the six weeks summer residential program at UCA.
Each student receives an individualized education action plan tailored to meet his or her potential and has weekly contact by their tutor, counselor, and Upward Bound staff member. Also, students take an assessment to help determine what career they may what to pursue, a reading assessment to identity strengths and weaknesses, and a learning styles inventory to help determine under what optimum conditions they learn best. Students practice taking ACT tests during tutoring sessions.
“Our students tell us they would not have gone to college or made a successful transition from high school to college had it not been for the Upward Bound program,” Burris said.
Interim Provost Steve Runge said the program greatly aids high school students of low socio-economic status.
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Filed under: Government
by Mary Ellen Klas in the Miami Herald Blog on 5/17/12
U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan came down hard on the Florida Legislature for using federal No Child Left Behind funds to steer money to questionable tutoring programs throughout the state. Florida lawmakers passed a law that requires school districts to spend 15 percent of their Title I funds — intended for low income students — on tutoring programs for students without determining whether the programs work.
Speaking to the Florida Council of 100, a business advocacy group, at the organization’s quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C., Duncan said this practice has spawned a cottage industry of tutoring companies despite research that shows mandated tutoring has no impact on student performance. “There has never been accountability for results,” Duncan said. “Districts don’t know if individual companies are actually having an impact on student achievement.” Under the law, the districts must send money to one of a handful of state-approved tutoring programs. “I find it ironic that Washington is offering flexibility but Tallahassee is taking it away,” Duncan said.
Florida Education Commission Gerard Robinson, who is under fire for the botched scoring of of FCAT writing scores, responded quickly in defense of the legislature. “Florida sought a flexibility waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act last year precisely because we wanted to have the flexibility to make decisions for our students and our schools that are right for Florida,” he said in a statement. “Suggesting that our state and our legislators were not acting in the best interest of Florida’s children reinforces how important it is that our state be allowed to chart a course that is right for Florida.”
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Filed under: Government,NCLB
by Philissa Cramer, Gothamschools.org, originally published on 5/16/12
Holes in the Department of Education’s oversight of tutoring companies that work in city schools allowed one of the companies to collect payments without proving it had delivered services, according to an audit by Comptroller John Liu. Liu found that Champion Learning Center collected about $860,000 in the 2009-2010 school year for tutoring students who had not signed into tutoring sessions or for tutoring sessions that officials had not certified had taken place.
The audit highlights the murky world of “supplemental educational services” providers, companies that offer tutoring mandated under the No Child Left Behind law. They are private entities but are subject to a host of city and state regulations, and the city must both monitor them and give them access to students. The audit comes weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against another SES provider, Princeton Review, for falsifying attendance records and bilking New York City out of millions of dollars. In that case, investigators found that the company had submitted false signatures showing that tutoring sessions had taken place.
Liu does not conclude that outright fraud took place at Champion Learning, which New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez revealed three years ago took home as much as $320 an hour for serving city students when overhead costs were included. Rather, Liu found that the group violated some regulations by delivering tutoring during school hours and played fast and loose with others — and that the city’s monitoring systems allowed for the possibility of fraud
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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Commercial