A recent series of articles published by the Texas Tribune gave the impression that most providers of free federally funded tutoring services are engaged in fraudulent activity or are otherwise corrupt. This is simply untrue.Free tutoring is an educational lifeline for thousands of students who continue to suffer in low-performing schools across the country. Because Texas has taken the shortsighted, irresponsible approach of eliminating the program altogether, more than 105,000 kids in the state will no longer have access to the services they need to succeed and otherwise are unable to afford.As the former assistant secretary of education in the Office of Civil Rights and current spokesperson for Tutor Our Children, an organization dedicated to preserving free tutoring for disadvantaged students, I’m very concerned that states like Texas are eliminating free federal tutoring programs. As the states begin to implement tougher standards, children who previously needed and had access to these tutoring programs will fall behind. At Tutor Our Children, we have long advocated for stronger oversight of federally funded tutoring services. However, allowing states like Texas to arbitrarily eliminate them altogether due to a few bad actors is just reckless public policy.We have a responsibility not only to maintain and expand access to federally funded tutoring services, but also to root out bad actors through increased accountability and reforms in the system. For years, Tutor Our Children has advocated — through state and federal legislation — a rigorous accountability system to ensure that students receive high-quality support from a wide range of national and community-based providers.This includes ensuring that all providers: • Show evidence that their curricula are aligned to state academic standards.• Have at least five years of continuous operating experience providing educational instruction to youth.• Use instructional methods and materials that are research-based.• Demonstrate financial stability (which may include a financial audit, evidence of sufficient working capital, or other means).• Employ tutors who meet state-determined qualifications.• Require owners, officers and any employees who have or may have contact with students to undergo an appropriate criminal background check.Additionally, as a condition for approval, Tutor Our Children recommends that a tutoring service provider demonstrate that it: • Provides parents of children receiving high-quality academic tutoring and the appropriate local educational agency with information on the progress of the children in increasing achievement. • Uses instruction and content of the highest quality, consistent with the instruction provided and content used by the local educational agency and state to support the development of the students’ college and career readiness• Meets all applicable federal, state and local health, safety and civil rights laws and that all instruction and content under this subsection are secular, neutral and non-ideological.Tutor Our Children also advocates establishing a mechanism for a two-year removal of a provider who:• Fails, for two consecutive years, to contribute to increasing the academic proficiency of students served as shown by evaluation requirements.• Is found, after a full and fair investigation, to have repeatedly violated accountability requirements or been subject to allegations proven true as submitted through a required complaint resolution process.• Does not serve students in a state for any two-year continuous interval.By implementing these reforms, we can root out the bad actors while ensuring that low-income and minority students access to the tutoring services they need. To do less is to leave parents without effective options, potentially dooming children to educational failure. Stephanie Monroe of Tutor Our Children is former assistant secretary for education in charge of the Office of Civil Rights.