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Are Too Many Children Getting Tutored?

math tutor, online tutor

Should tutoring be standard?

It used to be, only the kids who couldn’t read — or the ones who refused to learn their times tables — got tutored after school. And they kept it a secret since, of course!, this was the most embarrassing thing and meant they were dumb.

Now, though, now! Everyone’s got a tutor — math, spelling, writing, science. Even the parents of the smartest kids going to top schools are paying for a few hours of extra help every week.

What’s up with tutoring and is it really necessary? (We’re leaving aside the discussion of a preschool math tutor).

Educators, researchers and policy-makers discuss tutoring in today’s New York Times “Room for Debate” column. Though no one appears to condemn all the tutoring, a few do question whether it’s necessary and what to do since not everyone can pay for it.

No one appears convinced that school is so much harder these days. In fact, one person says it’s slightly easier now than even just 20 years ago. But what has changed are the standards and the unrelenting emphasis on showing a school is paying attention to them.

Another argues that parents are setting too high of expectations for their children’s schools. In some districts with the best schools in the nation, some parents are paying for tutors to push their kids beyond the already tough and advanced coursework that is offered.

My question is whether tutoring really teaches anything. Or is it just pushing facts out of context in order for students to regurgitate those facts also out of context on a standardized exam?

But if tutoring works for all students, why isn’t it a standard part of public education. Why don’t we pay for supplemental help through education funding (big joke, I know, ha ha) instead of only standing by while those who can afford to buy it get it and those who can’t (and don’t go to one of the schools that offers afterschool help) don’t.

Or maybe some of our tutoring issues could be solved with one simple thing, as President Obama talked about today: more school. More, more, more.

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