Parents rallied on the steps of City Hall Wednesday, Feb. 8 to call on the New York State Board of Regents to save free after-school tutoring by carving out a waiver for Supplemental Education Services (SES). The New York campaign for Tutor Our Children coordinated the rally, which was led by Adrienne Nyamsi, director and the Rev. Takarkah Robinson, founder and CEO of The Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition.
Almost 90,000 low-income students trapped in failing schools across New York State receive free tutoring services to help bridge the achievement gap. New York State is in the process of applying for a full waiver from various requirements of the No Child Left Behind law. If this materializes, all SES funds which — in addition to providing underprivileged students with free tutoring, also engage parents by giving them an opportunity to choose the supplementary educational services best suited for their children, will be eliminated.
The Board of Regents was scheduled to decide Monday. Feb. 13, whether to approve the state’s waiver application.
The Tutor Our Children New York coalition was formed to protect Supplemental Education Services for 87,500 New York students in need. The coalition includes parents, concerned community-based organizations and tutoring service providers across the state working to protect free after-school tutoring for needy children in low-performing schools. There are currently 39 coalition members, and the number continues to grow.
“The Coalition believes the opportunity to seek flexibility by states is essential to ensuring that resources are targeted to support proven research-based best practices,” said Adrienne Nyamsi, director of Tutor Our Children New York. “With enough support and attention we can help thousands of vulnerable kids by carving out a waiver for Supplemental Education Services.”
The parents at the rally expressed concern that the free educational services their children depend on could soon come to an end and that they could not afford to provide tutoring to their children otherwise.
In addition to the rally at City Hall, Tutor Our Children New York hosted a series of town hall meetings across New York to educate parents about the waiver issue, the possible suspension of SES programs, and what they could do to save them.