Supplemental Educational Services for Children from Low-Income Families Under ESEA Title I-A
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Supplemental educational services are educational activities provided outside of normal school
hours that are designed to augment or enhance the educational services provided during regular
periods of instruction, such as tutoring in specific subject areas and preparation for academic
achievement tests. The No Child Left Behind Act amended the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA) to authorize supplemental educational services as a means of school
improvement. Local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to provide students from low-
income families, who attend Title I-A schools that have been identified for a second year of
school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, the opportunity to receive supplemental
educational services from a state-approved provider.
Public and private nonprofit or for-profit providers may become eligible to deliver supplemental
educational services upon being approved by state educational agencies (SEAs). Parents of
eligible students may select from approved providers offering services in the jurisdiction of the
LEA where their children attend school, or that of a neighboring LEA. In instances where only a
limited number of eligible children can be provided with supplemental educational services—for
example, because of funding constraints or the limited availability of approved providers—
priority must be given to the lowest achieving eligible children. Providers are required to
demonstrate that the services they provide contribute to the increased academic proficiency of the
eligible children they serve, as measured according to state standards, in order to retain their
status as approved providers.
If there is sufficient demand for supplemental educational services, LEAs must dedicate an
amount equal to between 5% and 20% of their Title I-A allocations to fund them. Costs per pupil
are limited to the lesser of an LEA’s Title I-A allocation per poor student, or the actual cost of
services. Nationwide, there is considerable variation across LEAs in the maximum amount of
funding available per pupil.
As more schools are identified for a second year of school improvement, corrective action, or
restructuring, LEAs are being required to offer increasing numbers of students from low-income
families the opportunity to receive supplemental services. Much greater proportions of eligible
students are choosing to receive supplemental educational services than to change schools under
the ESEA Title I-A public school choice provisions. Still, there have been challenges to
implementation, such as the availability of services in rural areas, timely notification of parents
regarding their children’s eligibility for services, negotiation of contracts with providers for
service delivery, and measurement of the effectiveness of supplemental educational services in
improving student academic achievement.
The ESEA is expected to be considered for reauthorization during the 110th Congress. Title I-A
accountability provisions will likely be examined as part of reauthorization. This report reviews
the delivery of supplemental educational services as a component of ESEA Title I-A
accountability. It will be updated periodically.
Backgr ound ..................................................................................................................................... 1
Supplemental Educational Services Under ESEA Title I-A............................................................2
Local Educational Agency Responsibilities..............................................................................3
State Educational Agency Responsibilities...............................................................................4
Requirements of Providers........................................................................................................4
Funding for Supplemental Educational Services......................................................................5
Implementation of Supplemental Educational Services..................................................................7
Identification and Availability of Providers..............................................................................7
Contracts for Supplemental Educational Services Delivery.....................................................8
Requests for Supplemental Educational Services.....................................................................9
Supplemental Educational Services Pilot Programs...............................................................10
Accountability of Providers.....................................................................................................11
Table 1. Distribution of Maximum Allowable Expenditures Per Pupil for Supplemental
Educational Services, Mean Within Deciles of LEAs: School Year 2007-2008..........................6
Author Contact Information..........................................................................................................12
Supplemental educational services in the general sense are educational activities provided outside
of normal school hours that are designed to augment or enhance the educational services provided
during regular periods of instruction. Examples include tutoring in specific subject areas and
preparation for academic achievement tests. Supplemental educational services are provided by a
variety of public, private non-profit, and private for-profit entities. In many instances, parents pay
for their children to receive these types of services; however, increasingly, privately-financed
scholarship programs and the government are subsidizing the provision of supplemental
educational services to children from low-income families. This report focuses on supplemental
educational services (SES) provided under Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, P.L. 107-110). Under
Title I-A, LEAs are required to offer supplemental educational services to children from low-
income families who attend schools that have been identified for a second year of school 1
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.
Extended-time instructional programs have long been used as a means to improve student
academic achievement, and since the enactment of NCLB, the use of extended-time programs has
increased. In 1997-1998, 63% of all schools had implemented extended-time programs; and by 2
2004-2005, 72% had done so. Most commonly, extended-time instruction is provided after
school, although there are also before-school and weekend programs. After-school programs were
operated in 68% of schools in 2004-2005 (up from 57% in 1997-1998) and served 10% of all
students in 2004-2005 (up from 5% in 1997-1998). On average, after-school programs provided 3
students with an additional 134 hours of instruction per year (up from 111 hours in 1997-1998).
ED reports that extended-time programs are more common in Title I-A schools in improvement,
urban schools, and schools serving high proportions of poor and minority students.
The first significant opportunity under a federally funded program for parents to select between
public and private providers of tutorial or supplementary educational services came under the 4
Reading Excellence Act through programs funded by tutorial assistance subgrants. In
administering tutorial assistance subgrants, LEAs were required, among other things, to provide
parents the opportunity to select a tutorial provider for their child from among a variety of choices
that included both a school-based program and programs delivered by private providers operating
under contract with the LEA. While previously in other federal education programs, private non-
profit and for-profit providers delivered services under contract, tutorial assistance subgrants
marked the first direct opportunity for parents to select a private entity to provide educational
services to their children. Some perceived this as a first step toward publicly funded school
1 ESEA §1116(e).
2 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies
Service, State and Local Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, Volume III—Accountability Under NCLB:
Interim Report, 2007, p. 91, at http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/disadv/nclb-accountability/nclb-accountability.pdf.
(Hereafter cited as ED, State and Local Implementation of the NCLB.)
3 ED, State and Local Implementation of the NCLB, p. 91.
4 The Reading Excellence Act was incorporated into the ESEA in 1998 under P.L. 105-277. Funds for reading and
literacy grants, and tutorial assistance subgrants, were authorized from FY1999 through FY2001. Tutorial assistance
subgrants no longer are authorized under the ESEA as amended by P.L. 107-110.
The Reading Excellence Act required SEAs receiving reading and literacy grants to award at least
one tutorial assistance subgrant to LEAs that met certain eligibility criteria. Those criteria were
that the LEA had at least one school located in an empowerment zone or enterprise community
(EZ/EC); at least one school identified for school improvement; the highest or second-highest
number of Title I-A eligible pupils in the state; or the highest or second-highest school age
poverty rate in the state. Little information is available on the effectiveness of the tutorial
assistance subgrants; however, national and state evaluations of the program were required under
the authorizing legislation.
During the 107th Congress’s deliberations over reauthorization of the ESEA, the House and
Senate considered numerous proposals to expand federal support of parental choice and access to
privately provided educational services. Proposals were made to do so through school vouchers
and tax subsidies. While legislation was enacted into law allowing tax-free distributions from
Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to be used for elementary and secondary education
expenses, including tuition and fees for private school attendance, neither chamber passed a
school voucher provision. However, with enactment of the NCLB, children from low-income
families who attend Title I-A schools that do not improve after being identified for school
improvement are now afforded the opportunity to receive supplemental educational services from
state-approved public or private providers.
Supplemental educational services, as provided for in the ESEA, are tutoring and other academic
activities that are in addition to any instruction provided during the regular school day, and that
are designed to increase students’ achievement on state academic assessments and their
proficiency in meeting state academic achievement standards. The ESEA requires LEAs to offer
supplemental educational services to low-income students who attend Title I-A schools that have
been identified for a second year of school improvement, for corrective action, or for 5
restructuring. Students receiving supplemental education services continue to remain eligible to
receive Title I-A services otherwise provided through school-wide or targeted assistance school
Under the ESEA, students who attend Title I-A funded schools identified for school improvement
after failing to make AYP for two consecutive years must be offered public school choice. This
consists of the opportunity to select from among two or more schools from within the same LEA 6
that have not been identified for school improvement, corrective action or restructuring; and that 7
have not been designated as unsafe, (unless prohibited by state or local law or policy). The
lowest achieving students from low-income families must receive priority in transferring to a
5 For a more thorough description of ESEA accountability and school improvement requirements, see CRS Report
RL33731, Education for the Disadvantaged: Reauthorization Issues for ESEA Title I-A Under the No Child Left Behind
Act, by Wayne C. Riddle.
6 A school would be identified for corrective action after failure to make AYP for four cumulative years; it would be
identified for restructuring after failure to make AYP for five cumulative years.
7 34 C.F.R. §200.44; and U.S. Department of Education, Public School Choice: Nonregulatory Guidance, Draft,
February 6, 2004, http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/schoolchoiceguid.pdf.
different school. Schools identified for improvement also are required to implement school
improvement plans and to be provided with technical assistance. LEAs must offer students
attending schools identified for a second year of school improvement the opportunity to receive
supplemental educational services, in addition to the continued opportunity to transfer to a 8
different school under intradistrict public school choice. In instances where a school was in
school improvement for two or more consecutive school years prior to the enactment of P.L. 107-
110, students attending such a school became eligible to receive supplemental educational
services beginning the first day of school year 2002-2003. In its regulations implementing the
requirements of Title I-A, ED provides that in instances where LEAs are unable to offer public
school choice to students attending schools that are in the first year of school improvement, LEAs 9
may offer these students the opportunity to receive supplementary educational services.
Parents whose children are eligible to receive supplemental educational services must be afforded
the opportunity to choose a provider from a list of those approved by the SEA and that offer
services in the local area. To facilitate parental choice in the selection of supplemental educational
services providers, the ESEA delineates certain responsibilities for LEAs, SEAs, and providers.
LEAs whose jurisdiction includes one or more Title I-A schools that have been identified for a
second year of school improvement, or that have been identified for corrective action or
restructuring, are required to make arrangements for the provision of supplemental educational
services to children from low-income families who attend such schools. In doing so, at least once
per year, such LEAs must notify parents of children who attend such schools of the availability of
supplemental educational services for their children. In this notification to parents, LEAs must
identify providers that offer supplemental educational services either within the LEA’s
jurisdiction or that of a neighboring and reasonably accessible LEA (including providers that
offer services through distance learning). They must also provide a description of each provider,
which must include the services it provides, the provider’s qualifications, and its demonstrated 10
effectiveness. If requested, LEAs must also provide parents with assistance in selecting a
provider. If sufficient funds are not available to serve all eligible children, LEAs must give
priority to the lowest achieving of eligible children. Finally, LEAs are prohibited from disclosing
the identity of a student who is eligible to receive or is receiving supplemental educational
services without the written permission of the student’s parents.
Once the parents of an eligible student select an approved supplemental educational services
provider, the LEA then must enter into an agreement with the provider covering the provision of
services. Among the requirements of such agreements are that an LEA must consult with both a
8 In many large poor LEAs, there are often schools that are eligible for assistance under Title I-A, but that do not
receive funding because other schools in the LEA have greater proportions of Title I-A eligible students. If such
schools fail to make adequate yearly progress, poor students attending these schools would not be required to be
offered supplemental educational services (or public school choice) because these schools are not subject to school
improvement requirements under ESEA §1116.
9 34 C.F.R. §200.44(h)(2). However, when LEAs voluntarily offer supplemental educational services, they are not
bound by the requirements of ESEA §1116(e) otherwise applicable to supplemental educational services.
10 An LEA may request from the SEA a full or partial waiver of the requirement to make supplemental educational
services available if no providers approved by the SEA offer services either in the LEA’s jurisdiction or within a
reasonable distance, and if the LEA also shows that it is unable, itself, to provide supplemental educational services.
student’s parents and the provider in the development of academic achievement goals for the
student and how achievement of those goals will progress and be measured. If a student with a
disability is to be served, the plan must be consistent with the student’s individualized education
program (IEP). The LEA is responsible for making payment to the provider for the costs of
providing supplemental educational services.
SEAs are responsible for working to ensure that parents have the opportunity to choose from
among the greatest number of qualified supplemental educational services providers. Each year,
SEAs are required to notify potential providers of the opportunity to become, and procedures for
becoming, an approved provider of supplemental educational services. They also must evaluate
potential providers’ effectiveness in improving students’ achievement as measured according to
state academic assessments for required subjects (reading or language arts and mathematics, and,
no later than the end of the 2007-2008 school year, science). In addition, SEAs are required to
develop standards and techniques for monitoring the actual effectiveness of providers in
increasing the academic proficiency of students who receive supplemental educational services
provided under ESEA Title I-A. Finally, SEAs must establish and maintain lists of approved
providers, delineated by LEA. They must remove from the list of approved providers any that
fails for two consecutive years to contribute to the improved proficiency of the eligible students it
serves. SEAs are also required to remove from their list of providers, schools and LEAs that have 11
been identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.
Providers of supplemental educational services may be public entities, such as LEAs or schools
that have not been identified for improvement, institutions of higher education, and private non-
profit or for-profit entities (including groups of individuals, such as teachers, organized as such).
Religiously affiliated organizations are not prohibited from being supplemental educational
services providers; however, the ESEA requires all instruction and content to be secular, neutral,
and nonideological, and also prohibits the use of ESEA funds to pay for religious worship or 12
instruction. Providers must abide by all applicable federal, state, and local health, safety, and
civil rights laws.
Federal civil rights laws generally apply to recipients of federal financial assistance; however,
according to ED supplemental services providers are not considered recipients of federal financial
assistance unless they otherwise receive federal financial assistance through other means. Despite
this, in non-regulatory guidance ED states that because federal civil rights laws apply to SEAs
11 34 C.F.R. §200.47(b)(1)(iv). The Secretary of Education has permitted exceptions to this rule as part of SES Pilot
Programs, which are discussed later in this report.
12 For additional information on how religiously affiliated organizations and private schools may become providers of
supplemental educational services, see U.S. Department of Education, Center for Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives, Toolkit for Faith-Based and Community Organizations to Provide Extra Academic Help (Supplemental
Educational Services), March 2003, at http://www.ed.gov/admins/comm/suppsvcs/toolkit.pdf; and U.S. Department of
Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Questions and Answers on the Participation of Private Schools In
Providing Supplemental Educational Services (SES), May 1, 2006, at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/onpe/
and LEAs, they “have the responsibility for ensuring that there is no discrimination in their 13
supplemental educational services programs.”
In order to maintain their listing by the SEA as approved providers, providers must agree to
supply parents and LEAs with information about the academic progress of the children they serve
in an easily understandable format. In addition, the academic content of their programs and
method of instruction must be consistent with that of the LEA and the state, and also aligned with
state academic achievement standards. Providers may not be required to hire only staff who meet 14
the qualifications for teachers and paraprofessionals under ESEA Section 1119.
ESEA requirements for funding supplemental educational services are jointly applicable with the
requirements for funding transportation for public school choice. If there is sufficient demand,
LEAs must spend an amount equal to 20% of their Title I-A funding for public school choice-15
related transportation expenses and supplemental educational services. LEAs must spend a
minimum of an amount equal to 5% of their Title I-A funding on each if there is sufficient
demand. LEAs may divide the other 10% between the two purposes; however, if there is no
demand for choice-related transportation, then the LEA must spend an amount equal to the full 16
20% on supplemental educational services. The ESEA does not require LEAs to provide
students with transportation to the sites where SES providers offer services. However, if LEAs do
provide transportation, they may not count transportation costs toward the 5% minimum
The ESEA limits LEAs’ cost per-pupil of providing supplemental educational services to the
lesser of (a) the LEA’s Title I-A allocation per poor student (based on the number of children aged
5 to 17 from families below the poverty level), or (b) the actual cost of the supplemental
educational services provided to a particular student. The ESEA does not stipulate whether the
funds used to pay the cost of supplementary education services for students attending a particular
school must come from the Title I-A allocation that would normally go to that school, or if the
allocation to other schools in an LEA, or to central administration and services, may be reduced
to cover these costs. However, LEAs are prohibited from reducing the total amount of Title I-A
funds provided to any school identified for corrective action or restructuring by more than 15% to
13 U.S. Department of Education, Supplemental Educational Services: Non-Regulatory Guidance, June 13, 2005, C-3,
at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/suppsvcsguid.pdf. (Hereafter cited as ED, Supplemental Educational Services
14 34 C.F.R. 200.47(b)(3); and ED, Supplemental Educational Services Guidance, C-21.
15 LEAs are not required to spend Title I-A funds for choice-related transportation or supplemental educational
services. Rather LEAs may meet or exceed the applicable expenditure requirement with funds from other federal, state,
local, or private sources. With regard to federal funds, LEAs may use Title V-A-3 (Local Innovative Education
Programs) funds to pay for supplemental educational services. SEAs also may transfer funds to LEAs for supplemental
education services under Title VI-A-2 (Funding Transferability for State and Local Educational Agencies). Funds may
be transferred to LEAs from grants to states under the following programs: Title II-A (Teacher and Principal Training
and Recruiting Fund); Title II-D (Enhancing Education Through Technology); Title IV-A (Safe and Drug-Free Schools
and Communities); and Title V-A (Innovative Programs). SEAs also are authorized (but not required) to use
administrative funds reserved under Title I-A or Title V-A to assist LEAs in meeting the costs of supplemental
16 ED, Supplemental Educational Services Guidance, K-3.
cover the costs of providing supplemental educational services (or for the cost of transporting
students participating in public school choice, or any combination of the two).
The amount of per-pupil funding available for supplemental educational services will vary
considerably from one LEA to another due to the variation across LEAs and states in the amount
of Title I-A funding allocated under the four formulas (basic grants, concentration grants, targeted
grants, and education finance incentive grants), and because SES funding per-pupil is determined
by dividing Title I-A allocations by the number of students from families living below the poverty 17
level. The nationwide distribution of the maximum allowable expenditures per pupil for
supplemental educational services for school year 2007-2008 (FY2007) is presented in Table 1,
by deciles of LEAs.
Table 1. Distribution of Maximum Allowable Expenditures Per Pupil for
Supplemental Educational Services, Mean Within Deciles of LEAs: School Year 2007-
Decile of LEAs Mean Maximum
(weighted by pupils Expenditure
below the poverty level) ($s per-pupil)
Source: CRS calculations.
Note: These figures take into account the reservation by states of 1% of funds for state administration and 4%
for school improvement activities. Actual amounts available to LEAs may be further adjusted by states to account
for LEA boundary changes, the consolidation or creation of new LEAs, and charter school LEAs.
Table 1 shows that there is considerable variation across LEAs in the level of funding that must
be made available if the LEA is required to offer supplemental educational services to its
students. For instance, the average LEA in the top decile of LEAs (ranked according to Title I-A
17 Title I-A grants are calculated for each LEA based on the number of children aged 5 to 17 in families living below
the poverty level; in families receiving temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) payments in excess of the
poverty income threshold for a family of four; or living in institutions for neglected and delinquent children, or who are
being supported in foster homes with public funds, whether or not they are from a family below the poverty line. Using
the number of pupils from poor families, rather than the total number of Title I-A eligible pupils, to calculate the per-
pupil cost limit for supplemental educational services results in a comparatively higher cost limit for select LEAs. One
reason for this is that although the non-poverty children constitute only about 4% of the Title I-A formula eligible
children nationally, this percentage is much higher in certain LEAs. More broadly, Title I-A grants per poor child vary
due to differences in the state expenditure factor, degree of poverty concentration, hold-harmless effects, and other
allocations per poor pupil), may be required to provide up to $2,077 for supplemental educational
services, whereas the average LEA in the bottom decile of LEAs may be required to provide only
up to $923. This may result in different levels of supplemental educational services being
available to students depending on the LEA in which they are enrolled.
ED has released tables of FY2007 Title I-A allocations to LEAs, which include estimates of the
maximum per-child expenditure for supplemental educational services and the total amount of
Title I-A funds that LEAs must reserve to fund supplemental educational services and
transportation for public school choice, should they be required to provide these school 18
improvement options. These tables further illustrate the differences in the maximum amount of
funding required to be made available across LEAs. When examining SES funding issues, it is
also important to recognize that since the maximum amount of per-pupil funding required to be
provided by LEAs is determined by dividing Title I-A allocations by counts of children from poor
families, SES per-pupil funding will vary with changes in child poverty counts and Title I-A
ED reports that in 2003-2004, LEAs spent an average of $875 per student on supplemental
educational services. This was approximately 71% of the maximum per-student amount they 19
reported being required to make available for SES. Overall, LEAs were estimated to have spent
a total of $192 million on SES during the 2003-2004 school year. In LEAs that offered SES, this 20
represented approximately 3.2% of Title I-A funds.
School year 2007-2008 is the sixth year in which LEAs with schools identified for a second year
of school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring have been required to offer students
attending those schools the opportunity to receive supplemental educational services. Information
increasingly is becoming available on how supplemental educational services are being
implemented across the nation. This section identifies and describes various aspects of the
implementation of supplemental educational services.
The ESEA requires SEAs to compile lists of eligible supplemental educational services providers
and to make these lists available to the parents of eligible students. In 2002-2003, the first year of
implementation, states struggled with identifying eligible SES providers. For example, by
September 2002, only 5 states had published lists of approved providers. By September 2003, 19
states had published lists of approved SES providers; and by the end of the 2003-2004 school
18 U.S. Department of Education, Budget Service, ESEA Title I LEA Allocations—FY2007 Revised, at
http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/titlei/fy07/index.html. ED’s Budget Service provides these data for
informational purposes only.
19 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies
Service, National Assessment of Title I, Final Report: Volume I: Implementation, 2007, p.101, at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/
pdf/20084012_rev.pdf. (Hereafter cited as ED, National Assessment of Title I, Final Report).
year, all but two states had done so.21 For the 2007-2008 school year, all states have published 22
lists of SES providers. The number of approved providers has increased steadily as states have
progressed with NCLB implementation. In May 2003, states had approved a total of 997 23
providers. By May 2007, states had approved a total of 3,234 providers, nationwide.
As the number of providers has increased, so has the proportion that are private providers. In May
2003, 60% of SES providers were private entities, while 33% were LEAs or schools. By May
2007, 86% of providers were private entities, while 11% were LEAs or schools. Faith-based
organizations are increasingly becoming providers, increasing from 2% of the total in May 2003 24
to 8% in May 2007.
In some instances, approved SES providers only offer their services in selected regions or areas of
a particular state. For example, small non-profit providers or consortia of teachers might offer
services only in a particular LEA, county, or urban area. Often, providers may decline to offer
services in areas where they are unlikely to be able to serve a critical mass of students. Some
remote rural schools may be served only by providers offering services through distance learning.
In some areas, LEAs are among the major providers of supplemental educational services. As
previously mentioned, LEAs that become identified for improvement lose their eligibility to be
SES providers. Still, certain entities that are affiliated with an LEA identified for improvement st
may remain eligible to be an SES provider. Examples of affiliated entities include 21 Century
Community Learning Centers, community education programs, and parent information and 25
resource centers. State lists typically identify the approved providers for each LEA that has a 26
Title I-A school in which children are required to be offered services. According to ED, in 92%
of LEAs, at least one SES provider has been approved to offer supplemental educational services
To make supplemental educational services available to eligible students, LEAs and providers
need to negotiate agreements or contracts for the provision of services for each student. Evidence
has shown that contract negotiation can be a difficult and time consuming process, as separate
contracts often must be negotiated with each provider in LEAs in which services must be offered.
Items that often need to be negotiated include the specific services to be provided for a given cost
(as within each state, different LEAs often have different maximum per-pupil expenditure
amounts), whether providers will receive up-front payment for services to be provided, the terms
21 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies
Service, Title I Accountability and School Improvement From 2001 to 2004, April 2006, pp. 27-33, at
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/disadv/tassie3/tassie3.pdf. (Hereafter cited as ED, Title I Accountability and School
Improvement From 2001 to 2004.)
22 Center on Innovation and Improvement, Supplemental Educational Services database, 2008, at
23 ED, National Assessment of Title I, Final Report, p. 91.
24 ED, National Assessment of Title I, Final Report, pp. 99-100.
25 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and Office of Innovation and
Improvement, “Supplemental Educational Services (SES) Policy: District-affiliated Entities Becoming SES Providers,”
May 10, 2006, at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/choice/ses051006.html.
26 Links to state SES websites are available from the U.S. Department of Education at http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/
of access to school facilities, how student transportation will be provided if services are delivered
off school grounds, whether LEA instructional staff will be hired and trained by the provider to
deliver services or if the provider will bring in its own staff, and whether a provider will require a
minimum threshold of students before delivering services (e.g., will the provider deliver services 27
if selected by only one student in a particular school or LEA?).
While the negotiation of contracts may appear to be a barrier in the implementation of
supplemental educational services, the issues being negotiated often are not insignificant. For
instance, providers and multiple LEAs may have to determine how appropriate services can be
delivered when each LEA is authorized to pay different amounts for services, and providers often
are seeking to work in multiple LEAs. This may lead to providers having to develop different
service models for different LEAs. Some LEAs may have rules that prohibit the use of school
space by for-profit entities, or may wish to charge providers rent for the use of school facilities.
Others may have a reluctance to have multiple outside entities operating within a school after
normal school hours. In instances where providers do not have access to school facilities, they
may want transportation costs to be included in their fee. (LEAs are permitted, but not required,
to provide transportation to service providers.) It also may be difficult for providers enrolling
students from multiple LEAs to ensure that their services are appropriately aligned with each
LEA’s curriculum. In addition, special agreements often must be drafted regarding the provision
of services to students with special needs or who have limited English proficiency. Some SES
providers have found it unprofitable to operate in a market in which they must work under 28
different contracts with each LEA. To address some of these concerns, ED has issued a policy
letter clarifying the conditions that LEAs may and may not impose on providers in the negotiation 29
LEAs have been required to offer supplemental educational services to students attending schools
identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring for several years. While
only a fraction of eligible children have received supplemental educational services, both the
number of SES recipients and the percentage of eligible students receiving SES have increased
from year to year. In the 2002-2003 school year, an estimated 1,100 LEAs were required to offer
supplemental educational services to students enrolled in 1,300 schools identified for a second
year of school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. However, only 500 LEAs (48%)
offered supplemental educational services, making them available in 800 schools (58%). ED
estimates that a total of 791,000 students from low-income families were eligible to receive
supplemental educational services in 2002-2003 but that because not all LEAs offered SES, 30
services were only available to 592,000 students. A GAO review of data reported to ED on
27 For a discussion of some issues raised in the negotiation of contracts, see Michael Casserly, No Child Left Behind: A
Status Report on Choice and Supplemental Services in America’s Great City Schools, Council of Great City Schools,
January 2004. (Hereafter cited as Casserly, No Child Left Behind.)
28 Sarah Sparks, “SES Providers View Districts’ Disparity as Impediment,” Education Daily, December 1, 2005, pp. 1-
29 U.S. Department of Education, Letter to Chief State School Officers, Supplemental Educational Services Policy:
LEA Conditions on Providers, August 26, 2004, at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/choice/
30 ED, Title I Accountability and School Improvement From 2001 to 2004, p. 28.
NCLB Consolidated State Performance Reports found that approximately 117,000 students 31
received supplemental educational services in 2002-2003.
In the 2003-2004 school year, the second year of implementation, ED estimates that 1,100 LEAs
were required to offer supplemental educational services to more than 1.3 million students
enrolled in 3,100 schools. However, only 600 LEAs (53%) were estimated to have offered 32
supplemental educational services in 2,500 schools (83%). ED reports that approximately
students received supplemental educational services in 2004-2005.
There are a number of reasons why eligible students might not be receiving services. As
previously discussed, the initial process of identifying providers and negotiating contracts has
been slow in some instances. Also, there have been delays in the identification of schools where
children are required to be offered services, and in notifying parents of the availability of services.
In many instances, parents have not been notified of the availability of services until after the 34
beginning of the school year. Also, in some instances, notices announcing the availability of
services may not have been easy for parents to understand, or may not have been received by
In 2005, the Secretary of Education first announced that flexibility in the provision of
supplemental educational services would be granted in limited circumstances through SES Pilot 35
Programs. Two types of SES Pilot Programs have been approved. The first addresses concerns
of some large urban LEAs that have been providers of supplemental educational services but that
became ineligible upon being identified for improvement. Under the SES Pilot Programs, ED
granted flexibility to the Boston, Chicago, and New York City LEAs—each of which has been
identified for improvement—to allow them to continue to remain eligible as SES providers 36
during the 2005-2006 school year. In return for this flexibility, these LEAs were required to
provide early notification to parents about SES eligibility, extend enrollment periods, provide
non-LEA SES providers with access to facilities for a reasonable fee, and participate in an
independent third-party evaluation to determine the effectiveness of supplemental educational
services. ED authorized Boston and Chicago to continue in the SES Pilot Program for the 2006-
to Hillsborough County (FL) Public Schools. These same four LEAs were again approved for
the SES Pilot Program for 2007-2008.
31 GAO, No Child Left Behind: Supplemental Educational Services, p. 8.
32 ED, Title I Accountability and School Improvement From 2001 to 2004, p. 28.
33 ED, National Assessment of Title I, Final Report, p.89.
34 Casserly, No Child Left Behind, p. 28. Late notification may have had less of an impact on student receipt of
supplemental educational services than on public school choice (in which there is an even lower take-up rate), as it is
considerably more disruptive to change schools after the start of the school year than to start a tutoring program outside
of regular school hours.
35 U.S. Department of Education, New Options for Families: Supplemental Educational Services Pilot Programs, at
36 U.S. Department of Education, NCLB Policy Letters to States, SES Flexibility Agreements 2005, at
37 U.S. Department of Education, NCLB Policy Letters to States, Supplemental Educational Services, at
The second type of SES Pilot Program responds to concerns about the sequencing of public
school choice and supplemental educational services as sanctions for schools identified for
improvement. Some suggest that it may be desirable to offer supplemental educational services
prior to being required to offer public school choice. Data on the implementation of ESEA Title I-
A accountability provisions may support this contention. For instance, in school year 2003-2004,
only 1% of 2.75 million students eligible for public school choice participated, whereas 19% of
participated. Similar participation rates were seen again in 2004-2005, as only 1% of the 5.2
million students eligible for public school choice transferred schools; whereas 19% of the 2.4 39
million students eligible for SES participated.
Under the SES Pilot Program, for the 2005-2006 school year, ED approved a reversal in the
sequencing of SES and school choice as sanctions in four LEAs in Virginia: Alexandria City,
Henry County, Newport News, and Stafford County. In return for this flexibility, Virginia was
required to enhance its SES and public school choice programs, extend SES enrollment periods,
provide outreach to parents, and provide ED with data on the academic achievement of students 40
receiving supplemental educational services.
In May 2006, the Secretary announced an extension of the SES Pilot Program to permit LEAs to
reverse the order in which they offer public school choice and supplemental educational 41
services. States that (a) had made timely AYP notifications for both the 2004-2005 and 2005-
2006 school years, (b) had supplemental educational services evaluations in progress, and (c) had
assessment systems rated by ED in one of the top three categories were invited to apply for
flexibility in reversing the order of public school choice and supplemental educational services on
behalf of up to seven LEAs, of which at least two should be rural LEAs. For the 2006-2007
school year, ED granted flexibility under the SES Pilot Program to 5 states: Alaska (1 LEA), 42
Delaware (1 LEA), Indiana (3 LEAs), North Carolina (7 LEAs), and Virginia (4 LEAs). For
SES providers are required to provide information on the academic progress of the students they
serve to individual student’s parents and to LEAs. SEAs are required to assess the performance of
providers as they maintain their lists of eligible providers. In general, states, LEAs, and providers
have been slow in implementing the accountability requirements applicable to supplemental
38 ED, Title I Accountability and School Improvement From 2001 to 2004, pp. 16, 28.
39 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies
Service, National Assessment of Title I, Final Report: Volume I: Implementation, 2007, p.88.
40 U.S. Department of Education, NCLB Policy Letters to States, SES Flexibility Agreements 2005, at
41 U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Secretary, Key Policy Letters Signed by the Education Secretary or
Deputy Secretary, “SES Pilot Program: Offering SES to Students in Schools in Year One of Improvement,” May 15,
2006, at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/060515.html.
42 U.S. Department of Education, NCLB Policy Letters to States, SES Flexibility Agreements 2006, at
ED reports in the National Assessment of Title I: Final Report that as of early 2005, states were
still developing and implementing systems to monitor SES providers, that 15 states had not yet
established processes, and that 21 had not yet finalized their processes. ED also reported that as of
early 2005, no states had yet finalized their standards for evaluating SES provider effectiveness 43
and that only half had developed any standards. Also, although the monitoring of SES providers
is an SEA responsibility, data from the National Longitudinal Study of No Child Left Behind,
Supplemental Services Provider Survey, shows that in 2004-2005, SES providers reported being
monitored by LEAs more often than by SEAs.
In 2007, ED reported findings from research examining the effectiveness of supplemental 44
educational services in improving student academic achievement. Data from a study of seven
LEAs in which supplemental educational services were provided shows that in the first year
students received services, their test scores in reading and mathematics improved. In instances
where students continued to receive services for additional years, many continued to show
improvement. The study’s findings did not reveal significant differences between LEAs and
private providers of supplemental educational services in contributing to increased student
David P. Smole
Specialist in Education Policy
43 ED, National Assessment of Title I: Final Report, 102.
44 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies
Service, State and Local Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, Volume I—Title I School Choice,
Supplemental Educational Services, and Student Achievement, Washington, D.C., 2007, at http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/