Clinton criticizes funding of private tutors under No Child Left Behind
Democratic presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen.Hillary Clinton takes questions from reporters during a campaign stop in Concord, N.H., Friday, March 30, 2007. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Hillary Clinton (D) Senator, New York
Born: 10/26/1947
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Home: Chappaqua, NY
Religion: Methodist
>> Website
>> Forum
>> Related Stories
Coming Events

CONCORD, N.H. - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday criticized the Bush administration for outsourcing teaching to private tutoring companies, arguing that many firms have close ties to Republicans.

"This is Halliburton all over again," the New York senator said.

The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act requires school districts to provide free tutoring in math and reading to poor children in schools that repeatedly fail to meet state testing standards. Clinton said that amounts to $500 million a year being paid to tutoring companies and other supplemental service providers that aren't held accountable.

"Nobody's looking over their shoulder. And we're not really seeing results," she members of the National Education Association's New Hampshire chapter.

"Why would we outsource helping our kids to unaccountable private sector providers?" she said. "They don't have to follow our civil rights laws, their employees don't even have to be qualified, they aren't required to coordinate with educators, there's a grand total of zero evidence that they're doing any good."

Many of the providers have close ties to the Republican Party and President Bush, she told reporters later.

"It's not enough that there are no-bid contracts that are taking money away from our troops not delivering services to them in the field, now we have these contracts going to these cronies who are chosen largely on a political basis, and we have nothing to show for it," she complained.

Clinton, who voted for No Child Left Behind, said she had concerns with the bill from the start but thought it was worth taking a risk to see a greater investment in education.

"It hasn't been funded properly. It hasn't been administered correctly. It hasn't been implemented appropriately," she said. "It's all stick and hardly any carrot, and it's driving teachers and parents and everyone who cares about education a little bit crazy."

The law's focus on testing ignores the fact there are many ways to learn, she said, recounting a pivotal moment in her own education. When her high school staged a mock debate before the 1964 election, she was prepared to play Republican Barry Goldwater and was shocked when her teacher assigned her to portray Democratic President Lyndon Johnson. But the assignment opened her mind in a way a lecture wouldn't have, said Clinton, who grew up in a conservative Republican home.

"It was one of the greatest educational experiences I ever had," she said. "I had to lock myself in the library because we didn't talk about President Johnson in my house."