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News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2005

ISBE AND NEWTON LEARNING REACH AGREEMENT ON SES SERVICES

The Illinois State Board of Education today announced that it has approved a plan submitted by Newton Learning to bring Newton’s provision of SES after-school tutoring services into full compliance with the State’s rules and regulations.

SES (supplemental educational services) programs are provided under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. When a school does not make sufficient academic progress for three consecutive years, a student’s parents can enroll their child in a State-approved SES tutoring program. Businesses, non-profit groups, and school districts offer such programs. The State is responsible for approving program providers, setting standards, and monitoring performance.

ISBE advised Newton last month that during the course of its monitoring, it had identified administrative issues in Newton’s programs in Chicago Public Schools. In June 2005, ISBE established a comprehensive plan to increase the agency's oversight of tutoring as required under the No Child Left Behind Act. Illinois' regulation of tutoring providers is now among the most rigorous in the country. Jonathan Furr, ISBE general counsel said, “We take the responsibility of monitoring SES services seriously. We commend Newton for its willingness to take prompt corrective action in response to our concerns.” Newton has acknowledged that it did not fully comply with the State’s SES regulations.

Under terms of the plan, over the next 60 days Newton will replace CPS employees working in non-instructional roles in its SES programs. Newton will also provide training and professional development to its staff on the terms of the plan and the State’s SES regulations. Additionally, as a result of the negotiation process, Newton agreed to provide an additional five hours of tutoring this school year in each of the CPS schools in which it is providing SES services. The five hours will be in addition to Newton's 80-hour program (already a high number in comparison to most other programs).

“The simple fact is we made mistakes in the administration of our program in Chicago this year,” said Joel Rose, General Manager - SES of Newton Learning. “This agreement will benefit the students we serve in Chicago, while resolving those issues the State identified as problematic. We appreciate ISBE’s concern that this important program must be administered in full compliance with all State regulations. Newton Learning is committed to providing the best possible tutoring to our students.”

“We will monitor Newton’s progress in making these corrective changes, and we’re satisfied with Newton’s cooperation so far,” Furr said. “We are also pleased that Newton will be offering additional hours of tutoring as part of this agreement, which will benefit students, parents, and our Chicago schools.”

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777