Current state law requires that PEPs must be offered by local school districts to eligible and at-risk students that can be identified among those who do not perform well at grade level on End of Grade and End of Course tests. PEPs or personal education plans were first introduced in 2001 as a mechanism for students and parents to work alongside teachers so that customizable plans can be made to improve a student’s performance.
Focused interventions that are included in the customizable plans include additional tutoring similar to what is being provided at Bee Academic Tutoring in Long Beach, mentoring smaller classes or afternoon instructions. Teachers will likely know the students who need more help than others and these students must be provided with additional academic support outside of the standard classroom teaching. During regular school hours, teachers do not often have adequate time to spend on students who are at risk.
PEPs idea is for additional instructional services to be provided outside of the normal school day. Even extremely excellent teachers cannot provide everything that the at-risk students need to get to grade level. However, Senator Tillman has filed a bill to eliminate PEPs in public schools because it is a lot of paperwork for students which they do not actually need. Teachers are already overburdened with a lot of work and PEPs is just another needless demand on their time and resources. Teachers cannot do PEPs without additional compensation and no resources that is why Senator Tillman says that it is better to abandon PEPs.
On the other hand, Jane Wettach a law professor from Duke University and the director of Children’s Law Clinic points out that funding PEPs is a more realistic strategy than eliminating it because with today’s increased pressure on school districts to ensure that students meet grade levels, the more that there is a need for PEPs to help students who are at risk. There must be an option to address the needs of students who are unable to make the required progress during normal school days. If PEPs is eliminated, it would be a disservice to struggling students.