Star Ledger: Feds give struggling N.J. schools poor marks on tutoring, transfers

Feds give struggling N.J. schools poor marks on tutoring, transfers
One of the key tenants of No Child Left Behind is to provide options for children who are in failing school systems: either they are entitled to receive tutoring, or they should be allowed to transfer to another district.

Neither of these are happening effectively in NJ at large, and in Newark in particular. The Ledger chronicles some of the inefficiencies preventing kids from getting the help they need to succeed.

Transfers and tutoring were meant to be prime consequences for schools that consistently fall short of benchmarks for improvement on state reading and writing tests. Last year, more than 400 public schools in New Jersey missed the achievement marks.

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced a series of reforms last month designed to tighten the system. They’ll require states to better account for district efforts to initiate and advertise the programs.

New Jersey is among the states under greater scrutiny since the federal education department’s inspector general in 2005 criticized it for failing to ensure that districts follow rules about notifying parents in a timely fashion. The state has responded with new rules for districts, and some, like Newark, are instituting their own reforms.

In Newark, where officials have pumped more money into tutoring programs and students now account for one-third of all kids served, Assistant Superintendent Gayle Griffin said just one employee is responsible for reviewing 7,000 applications for tutoring.

“That just not right,” she said.

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

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