Opinion
Student Well-Being Letter to the Editor

Jacobson Essay Misses the Mark on Tutoring

January 17, 2012 1 min read

To the Editor:

In a recent Commentary (“Federal Tutoring Program Is Deeply Flawed,” December 14, 2011.), Joan Jacobson accuses a program that provides tutoring to low-income children trapped in low-performing schools of being ineffective and lacking proper oversight.

Much as we need to hold schools to high standards, we also need to hold tutoring providers to high standards. Ironically, Baltimore, which is Ms. Jacobson’s home, has some of the highest standards for providers in the country, and should serve as a model for the country. It is not surprising that Ms. Jacobson might come to questionable conclusions—the data she uses for Los Angeles, for instance, are almost 6 years old.

Still, the program would benefit from stricter oversight. Indeed, bills introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and in the House by a bipartisan coalition of congressmen would provide just that.

Where the Commentary falters even more fundamentally is when it argues that the tutoring program is ineffective. Far from it. Reports from reputable organizations, from the U.S. Department of Education to the RAND Corp. to the Chicago public school system, have all found that the tutoring program leads to significant gains in math and reading achievement. Indeed, a study released just last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that high-dosage tutoring is among the most effective methods we have for improving student achievement.

The tutoring program finally provides an effective educational tool to low-income, largely minority youths trapped in failing schools. The program gives children academic help while adults try—yet again—to fix our schools. Research shows that even the most aggressive school turnarounds take five years to show results, and we cannot afford to lose yet another generation of students to low-performing schools. Tutoring is helping to save that generation.

Stephanie Monroe

Counsel

Tutor Our Children Coalition

Washington, D.C.

The writer served as the U.S. assistant secretary of education for civil rights from 2005 to 2008.

A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Jacobson Essay Misses The Mark on Tutoring

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Abuse Cases Got More Severe During COVID-19. Could Teachers Have Prevented It?
A study finds that the severity of identified child abuse cases grew during the pandemic, even as reports of abuse declined.
3 min read
Image of a sad girl in the shadows
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Well-Being The Pandemic Brought Universal Free School Meals. Will They Stay?
Relaxed rules during the COVID-19 pandemic have allowed schools to serve universal free meals. Some in Congress want to make that permanent.
8 min read
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County School District on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss.
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County school district on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss., in March.
Leah Willingham/AP
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Getting Face Time With Students May Be More Important Than You Think
There's a good reason for teachers and students to keep their cameras on in class, a new neuroscience study suggests.
3 min read
Mashea Ashton, principal and founder of Digital Pioneers Academy, drops in to different Zoom classes to see how students and teachers are doing.
Mashea Ashton, the principal and founder of Digital Pioneers Academy, drops in on a Zoom class. New research shows ways teachers can build better bonds with students online.
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Whitepaper
SEL as a Plan to Slow the Impact of Learning Loss
In this discussion, we will discuss the impacts of learning loss during the pandemic, the inequities that have emerged during this time, ...
Content provided by Center for Responsive Schools