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Expanding Learning Time Through Supplemental Educational Services

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In 2001, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 was reauthorized and expanded into what is now the No Child Left Behind Act. Arguably the biggest changes that occurred during reauthorization were the expansion of the law’s language on accountability, the requirement of disaggregating and publicly reporting student achievement data, and the inclusion of prescribed interventions for continually low-performing schools. To support specific school improvement interventions in these under performing schools, the law requires districts to set aside funds for programs such as tutoring. Five years into NCLB implementation, its results and the opinions about it are mixed.

This paper examines NCLB’s accountability and school improvement provisions and proposes that expanded learning time be included as an allowable use of supplemental educational services funds to increase student learning and add a whole-school improvement strategy to a pot of money that is currently targeted to individual students.

The main proposal presented in this paper allows for the use of SES funds to support expanded learning time in schools with a student population that is at least 40 percent low-income by funding a one-year planning period followed by implementation until the school is able to meet its annual yearly progress benchmarks and support expanded learning through other financial means.