All you need to know about the new Supplemental Education Services (read tutoring) pilots you can find from Ben Feller’s AP story and the Department of Ed’s link heavy release. It’s amazing the extent to which the Department is implementing the No Child law in an extra-legal way (Feller says “bend,” I hope he tries that euphemism the next time he gets pulled over for speeding). At some point these precedents might come back to haunt…On the specifics, I actually see much more promise in public school choice over time than in SES so I’m not very excited about this new direction.

I’d rather see a lot more in the way of carrots and sticks around public school choice to really try to make that work than expanding SES which best I can tell is wildly uneven in quality and curricular alignment. At its worst SES is a return to the old problems that plagued Title I during the ’70s and ’80s just under a different guise. It’s also interesting that through their foot-dragging, the school districts are going to end up with more “privatization” through SES than they would have if they’d just really tried to make the public school choice provisions work.

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