Federal Opinion

Tutoring Myths & Realities

By Alexander Russo — April 16, 2007 1 min read
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Wednesday’s House hearing on SES won’t be the big hearing of the week, but it will likely be pretty interesting given Senator Clinton’s recent comments about the ineffectiveness of the program and its controversial use of private tutoring companies.

Amidst all the posturing and finger-pointing, however, some of the things that may get lost include the many similarities (same companies, same materials and pedagogy, etc.) between SES tutoring and its noncontroversial private pay counterparts, the near-impossibility of determining SES impacts on annual state test scores from 30-50 hours of tutoring per year, and the reality that smaller, regional providers often win out over large national companies (Sylvan sold its SES division after failing to have much success with the SES market).

Tutoring generally works. SES tutoring isn’t that different from regular tutoring. Expecting big effects from small amounts of tutoring doesn’t make sense. “Big education” isn’t dominating the SES field. More on this later.

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