Student Well-Being Letter to the Editor

Jacobson Essay Misses the Mark on Tutoring

January 17, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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


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


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.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

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 How a School District Used Music Teaching to Keep Students Connected
A wider variety of music programs may help students feel more connected to school, new research suggests.
3 min read
Dressed in her shoulder pads and jersey, 8th grader Julie Michael, 13, holds her flute before playing the national anthem with the marching band at Seven Springs Middle School in New Port Richey, Fla.
Trumpet player Blake Gifford, 12, at right, rehearses with the horn section in the band room on March 8, 2017, at Lakeside Middle School in Millville, N.J.
Ben Fogletto/The Press of Atlantic City via AP
Student Well-Being Opinion One Thing Teachers Can Do to Help Students Change Their Habits
Daniel Willingham explores what the research says it takes to make better choices.
Daniel Willingham
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being Using Therapy Dogs in Schools: 8 Do's and Don'ts
Read expert advice for bringing a therapy dog into your school, including concerns about breed, temperament, and training.
4 min read
A large gold dog rests lies on the ground and looks at a group of children who are sitting nearby as they listen to a story.
Therapy dog Kalani watches students during a story time at Morris Elementary School in Morris, Okla., on Jan. 17.
Michael Noble Jr. for Education Week
Student Well-Being Majority of Parents Say Kids Are Dishonest, Disrespectful, and Lazy
Parents are significantly concerned about the poor behavior of today's school-age kids and are looking to schools for help, survey shows.
3 min read
Image of handmade paper figures linking hands.