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Duncan: Waiving NCLB Tutoring Out Of Existence

Alg_dodgeball The Duncan folks have been giving out NCLB waivers like my grandma used to hand out hard candy.  No big surprise there.  But not everyone's happy about it.  Some of the ministers  and community leaders in Chicago are protesting a pending SES tutoring waiver that the state applied for and got on behalf of the city. They claim that the city has cut after school tutoring from $114M to $60M.  That's 40,000 fewer kids getting after school tutoring compared to last year.  Over 70,000 Chicago kids submitted applications to the program (see press release below).   I wonder if this is happening anywhere else or if there's anything else going on within NCLB while all eyes are elsewhere -- I mean besides schools getting waivers on their 1 percent SPED cap.(More Ways To Get Low-Scoring Kids Off The Books).  Related posts:  Save SES! (Say SES Providers), It's Waiver Time!

COALITION, LAWMAKERS PUT PRESSURE ON CPS TO RESTORE FUNDS FOR AFTER-SCHOOL TUTORING

Legislators, ministers and more than 700 parents oppose significant cuts to after-school programs

CHICAGO  Across Chicago, parents, local school councils, community groups and congregations  all part of the Safe and Fair Education (SAFE) Coalition  are organizing around the issue of 40,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students being cut from after-school tutoring programs.  

Recently, federal, state and city lawmakers have become involved with SAFEs efforts to restore Title I funds that were specifically allocated for these programs.  Meanwhile, community groups continue to hold meetings in response to the sudden cut in programs.  The next community meeting is this Thursday, November 19th, 6:00 p.m. at Mount Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Earlier this year, CPS spent weeks advertising after-school tutoring to parents, urging them to sign-up their children, resulting in a total of 72,000 students who were accepted into this years program. The federal government allocated more than $115 million in Title I funds through the Supplemental Education Services (SES) program for these students.

However, in a unilateral decision and without community input, CPS sought a waiver to spend only about half the total allocation.  While there are concerns over the education budget, CPS has still not answered questions coming from parents and community leaders as to what the allocated funds are being used for if not for after-school tutoring.  Title I funds for SES programs impact the most vulnerable students who need help in school and a safe place to be after school.

“It is often said that education is the great equalizer, yet year after year in the state of Illinois…we fall short,” said State Senator Kwame Raoul at a press conference held last week about the issue. “Here again were faced with a circumstance where were balancing a budget on the backs of our most vulnerable -- our children. It is unconscionable.”

Last week, Sen. Raoul joined Rep. Marlow Colvin, Reverend Walter Turner, LSC member Harold Williams and other community leaders at New Spiritual Light Baptist Church to hold CPS accountable for seeking a waiver that would allow them to use the Title I SES funds for other purposes.

“The word waiver is tantamount to the word renege. Its an opportunity for school districts to renege on the promises that they have made to children all across the state,” said Rep. Colvin. “These waivers are a very dangerous tool because it gives administrators power over local school councils and over parents and what is in the best interest of their children.” 

The meeting at Mount Ebenezer Baptist Church will be led by Reverend Leon Miller this Thursday at 6:00 p.m., 3555 W. Huron Street in Chicago.

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