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Supplemental Services.

Siobhan Gorman's "Selling Supplemental Services" (Feature, Fall 2004) was informative and engaging, but, like much of the discussion on the subject, it furthers a theme that school districts are the "bad guys." I would like to share a different perspective on the role and responsibilities of school districts in implementing No Child Left Behind.

NCLB is, without question, the most comprehensive and complex piece of legislation concerning education in the history of our country. But it had an implementation date of six months after it was signed (January 2002). This impossibly short timeline created tension between school districts and tutorial providers right from the start. The federal government did not have all the guidelines for implementation ready in July of 2002, nor did states even have their lists of state-approved providers ready by that date. This bumpy start led some providers to suspect that school districts were avoiding implementation so they could use the set-aside Title I dollars for other purposes.

The Supplemental Educational Services section of NCLB was a compromise agreed to by Congress when the voucher plan failed. It almost appears as though some in what Gorman calls "the popular crowd" believe if they can convince all the right people that school districts are bullies, are weighed down by conflicts of interest, and have no incentives to implement the program, school districts will be excluded as approved providers. Supplemental Educational Services is an attempt to privatize public education by using public funds for private vendors.

No Child Left Behind is the right thing to do. It may have its flaws and need some modifications, but it is seeking to put the resources in the right places. I believe in the Supplemental Educational Services program, and I welcome outside vendor partners. However, we all should be represented at the table when critical issues or concerns are discussed, not just the popular crowd.



Associate Superintendent

Extended Day Programs

Los Angeles Unified School District
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Title Annotation:correspondence
Author:Liechty, John
Publication:Education Next
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Previous Article:Paying teachers properly: the writing is on the wall--so what are we waiting for?
Next Article:Keeping good teachers.

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