A federal program intended to help students doing poorly in school turned into a fiasco in Ohio. Now the state is doing what should have been done all along - in effect, telling local school districts they can get the kinds of help they want for such students.
As so often is the case with the federal government, the program adopted a one-size-fits-all, strictly controlled approach. It provided federal money to pay for tutors for struggling students, but only by individuals, organizations and companies approved by the state of Ohio.
That was a disaster, with little oversight until it developed the campaign was rife with abuse. Some approved tutors were caught billing for work they never did. Some others were found to be dealing with students in unsafe and/or unhealthy environments.
Now, because Ohio obtained a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, a different tack is being taken. Money will be offered to school districts, which can use it to provide longer classes and intervention, possibly by tutors, to help low-achieving students. Those who don't read as well as necessary will be the focus.
With money controlled locally, expect much less abuse. And with school districts accountable for results allowed to decide how to spend the funds, expect more successes.
Why wasn't the program structured that way from the start?
Because Washington always knows best - even when it doesn't.