Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another day, another dollar cut

Mo says, "Make kids smarter! Make less waste! And when you DO make waste, at least make it useful waste, like how you can turn my poop into compost!"

I got an email from my boss today about how tutoring for low-performing, low-SES students will potentially be cut from the 2010-2011 school year. I can't say I'm surprised. It's just another brick on top of the burden that is called "educating the nation's children."

This tutoring is free for the student and their families. When the program started, each qualifying child received 20 hours of tutoring which, on average, raised their test scores by at least one bracket (i.e. If the student was scoring in the Below Basic range, he/she would be lifted to the Basic level after tutoring). This school year, each child's tutoring hours were reduced to 18.5, and the requirements for qualifying were tighter.

I'm not saying that tutoring is the one and only thing that helps these students. I'm not saying that these students should get help only to raise their test scores.

I'm just wondering why the things that research has shown to work in helping students learn - music, art, sports, science, et al - are continuing to get cut. When the budgets of things that don't help students learn - more of those endless meetings, more paper to push, more diagnoses and less actual healing - are relatively pristine.

We are starting a petition among the parents, gathering success stories and signatures, in an effort to keep this tutoring service afloat. We know the hours per student will likely get cut (again) anyway, but that is better than having no tutoring at all for those who need it.

If you are interested in learning more about this. Let me know.

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