Article  |  Volume 10

The Politics of Supplementing Failure Under No Child Left Behind: How Both Left and Right Are Forcing Low-Income Children to Choose Between a Deficient Education and Working Overtime

by Monica Teixeira de Sousa
This Article analyzes NCLB's Supplemental Educational Services provision and exposes its shortcomings. Part I introduces the voluntary overtime work approach of SES and highlights its flaws and limitations. Research reveals that the voluntary overtime work model is designed for the exceptional student and does not provide meaningful opportunities to the majority of students in under-performing schools. Part II presents the legal and political context in which policymakers created SES and shows how they failed to assess realistically the many challenges facing students today. In particular, the legislative history reveals that ideology--a blend of free-market and “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” schools of thought--prevailed over an honest assessment of students' needs and drove these policymakers to draft the SES provision of NCLB. Part III presents a larger framework in which to examine SES. It demonstrates that many educational initiatives spearheaded by liberals or enacted under Democratic leadership over the years have also relied on voluntary overtime work by students. A few leading examples include the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the Mississippi Freedom Schools, and the CDF Freedom Schools. There are also many smaller initiatives at the local level that abide by the voluntary overtime model. Part IV proposes that the regular school day, which all children are compelled to attend, should include services, such as tutoring, that currently are available to low-income students only through overtime work. So long as the benefits of programs such as SES are available only to students who are willing and able to opt in, the larger, compulsory system provided to all students will continue to fail.
10 Nev. L.J. 118 (2010)