Education Letter to the Editor

Why Offer Tutoring Only to ‘Eligible’ Children?

September 20, 2005 1 min read

To the Editor:

I would like to know why only “eligible” children—low-income students from schools needing improvement—are able to receive free tutoring through their schools (“NCLB Waiver Lets Virginia Offer Tutoring Before Choice,” Sept. 7, 2005) and (“Ed. Dept. Allows Chicago to Provide NCLB Tutoring,” Sept. 7, 2005)

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is quoted as saying that the “point of all of these agreements is to give parents better information and more choices, and to help more children get the extra help they need to succeed in school and beyond.” Shouldn’t this quote read “all children” instead?

My son is considered to be a low-income student because I’m a single mom. But the schools he has attended are all high-achieving, so he does not qualify for any extra tutoring. He is in the 3rd grade now and has struggled every year since kindergarten. He still is reading at a 1st grade level. He needs the extra help.

As a concerned parent, I cannot sit back and hope that he will catch up. My son struggles, gets frustrated, calls himself a “dummy,” and wants to give up. He’s only 8 years old. The anger he displays when he’s frustrated is scary.

This summer, I had my son tested by Huntington Learning Centers. To bring him up to the level he needs to be, and at which he will feel comfortable learning, I have had to take out a student loan for more than $10,000 to pay for tutoring. I would like to ask the government: Shouldn’t all students qualify for free tutoring if they need the extra help they can’t receive in a regular school day?

Lisa Zaboklicki

Milwaukee, Wis.

A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2005 edition of Education Week as Why Offer Tutoring Only To ‘Eligible’ Children?