According to the U.S. Department of Education, low-income families can enroll their child in Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and receive free extra academic help, like tutoring, if their child attends a Title I school cited by the state to be in need of improvement. The program was developed in 2002 as a part of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). If wiped out, it has the potential to directly affect 56,000 schools and 21 million students – the majority, students of color – in the United States.
Following a recent screening of the soon-to-be-released documentary, “Under Fire: Free Tutoring at Risk,” Eddie Fergus, deputy director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, invited “Under Fire” filmmaker D.B. Long, education activist Matthew Mugo Fields, and local administrators, teachers, and students to discuss the endangered state of the program and how this film could impact talks to cut the federally-funded program.
According to Fergus, the program is on the chopping block because of several inconclusive reports that evaluate the impact of these programs. The documentary, with testimonial from SES student participants, parents, teachers, and administrators, directly combat the assumption that the program is not working.
“What were really hoping to do with this film is bring awareness to the need for academic intervention services for students attending Title I schools,” Fergus explained. He asserts that some states that have received NCLB flexibility waivers are making decisions whether or not to continue SES as an option.
For additional information on SES programming, visit http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/choice/help/ses/index.html
For schools within New York State, the deadline to participate is Aug. 31.