"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, May 22, 2006

Washington Post Plugs Private Tutoring

A new plug from the Washington Post/Kaplan Inc. on how school administrators are intentionally depriving students of access to private tutoring companies. This story, another great example of Orwellian journalism, comes from Eugene W. Hickok whose firm represents private tutoring companies. Got to admit, these guys give the word chutzpah a whole new meaning.

The writer is senior policy director at Dutko Worldwide, a public-policy and government-relations company in Washington whose clients include a coalition of supplemental educational service providers created by the Education Industry Association. He was deputy secretary of education during President Bush's first term and, before that, Pennsylvania secretary of education.

More Children Left Behind
By Eugene W. Hickok

Monday, May 22, 2006; Page A17

Imagine being the parent of a child enrolled in a school that isn't working. You can't send him to a private school because you can't afford it, nor to another public school because there's no room. Every day he comes home from school depressed and disengaged. You do what you can. You visit with his teachers. You help with his homework. But you aren't a teacher. And his teachers, good people, are too busy to focus on your child. Slowly, he is drifting away.

Now imagine being told that your child is eligible for free tutoring after school, on weekends, whenever and wherever it is most convenient. You are told that the tutoring will focus on reading and math, that it will be based on the needs of the child, and that those providing the service have been certified by the state as qualified to tutor. You learn that the services will be aimed at making sure your child can read and calculate at his grade level and ensuring that he is prepared to do well on the state's school assessment. Most important, the tutoring will help him be promoted to the next grade ready for success.
Yes, imagine that.

Here is what Spellings did not say: In far too many places, it's not the parents' fault or an oversight that's to blame. It is the people in charge of the schools, who, in far too many cases, think that the money set aside for free tutoring is money that ought to stay with their schools and districts instead -- that it's their money to manage as they see fit. And so they come up with ways to make access to the services difficult for parents. They don't disobey the law; they just don't abide by it.

How dare they.

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