Online Tutoring Companies Reach Out To States to Meet Demands of NCLB – No Child Left Behind
Providers of online tutoring are gearing up to make sure they are on states’ supplemental educational service provider lists to meet the demands of the No Child Left Behind Act.
One of the tenets of NCLB is that additional academic help must be available for students attending schools with low test scores. According to the law, when a disadvantaged child is attending a low performing school, federal funds can be used to provide supplemental services for that child. These services to help students in reading, language arts and math, can be provided before or after school or on weekends. The supplemental help may come from nonprofit or for-profit companies.
Federal Title I funds (approximately $500 to $1,000 per child) can be used to provide supplemental educational services – including tutoring, after school services and summer school programs – for children in failing schools.
Since states must approve a list of supplementary-service providers, the online-tutoring providers have been scurrying to get on those lists. Among those jockeying for positions on the lists is Tutor.com (New York), which was founded in partnership with The Princeton Review and Scholastic. It provides 24-hour, one-to-one online tutoring services for libraries, community based organizations, education companies, publishers, schools and individual students. Tutor.com offers a service called Live Test Help in partnership with The Princeton Review’s Homeroom service to help students and schools successfully handle standardized tests.
Tutor.com has been approved as a supplementary educational services provider in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Washington. Approval is pending in 13 additional states, and the company is planning to apply to six states within the next four weeks, according to Jennifer Kohn, vice president, marketing and operations.
Sylvan (Baltimore) offers an Internet-based tutoring service in reading and math for students in grades 3 through 9. eSylvan provides live, personalized instruction from state-certified teachers.
eSylvan has been working with Sylvan Education Solutions for state approval to provide supplementary education services. SES/eSylvan is currently on the approved list in California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland and Tennessee. It is also approved for schools in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz., Mesa, Ariz., and several New York City school districts.
Since AOL@SCHOOL (Dulles, Va.), AOL’s service for K-12, is available free to schools, it does not fall under the NCLB regulations, said Terry Crane, AOL’s vice president for education. “Schools can order the software, which includes free e-mail, chat and instant messaging that are controlled by teachers, and install it without listing under the Act,” Crane said.
Still, seven states – Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Virginia – as well as Detroit, have endorsed AOL@SCHOOL. When a state or city endorses AOL@SCHOOL, the software delivered to schools in that state comes with a free window that is programmed by the state’s or city’s Department of Education, allowing it to have a direct link to the schools that install the software.
One of AOL’s new services is Homework Help Center, though it was not developed for schools. It provides live help from more than 1,000 volunteer tutors along with a knowledge database with answers to more than 10,000 homework questions.
The Ask-A-Teacher feature allows students to post a homework question that will be answered by a qualified teacher within 24 hours. Students can also get live help from teachers by accessing one of the Ask-A-Teacher tutoring rooms, organized by subject and grade level and staffed by volunteer tutors.
Contact info: America Online: 703 265-1000; www.aol.com; eSylvan: 877 379-5826; www.esylvan.com; Tutor.com: 212 528-3101; www.tutor.com.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Simba Information, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group