Education
6:50 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

TEA Wants To Improve Tutoring Standards

The Texas Education Agency says it’s re-evaluating the way it approves tutoring companies who bill millions in federal dollars for services. KERA’s Bill Zeeble follows up on last week’s DISD report of alleged fraud by some companies.

Last year, the TEA okayed nearly 48 million federal dollars paid to tutoring services it approved. The money is set aside to help low-income, poorly performing students. Dallas’ was about $12 million, and the district said last week that $143,000 of that money was fraudulently billed by at least two companies.

Trustees wanted to know how Cool Kids Inc. and Next Level Education gained TEA’s approval. The agency’s Debbie Ratcliffe says vendors met a long list of federal and state requirements. But the TEA is now adjusting its application standards because it wasn’t pleased with the results.

Ratcliffe: Multiple states are seeing the same kind of problems. So, we’re looking to see what we can do to tighten the controls around it, and I imagine when Congress considers reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, they’ll do same thing.

Ratcliffe says the TEA wants the Dallas district to file a complaint with the agency about the alleged fraud it uncovered.

Ratcliffe: Because at this point we know what’s been reported in the media but don’t have a formal complaint from the district so we could to take it to the next step.

DISD spokesperson Jon Dahlander says district officials are assembling that official complaint and it could be ready before the week’s out. Dahlander says maybe those two vendors can be scratched from TEA’s list.

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