Accessibility to Tutoring in America

Many studies prove that tutoring is one of the most effective ways of supporting students in their supplementary education. During a time when the learning gaps are more exposed than ever, tutoring could be the answer that we are looking for. However, one main roadblock facing tutoring for American students; is accessibility. From the cost to at-home support, tutoring is, unfortunately, not always an option for children. Let’s take a look at the accessibility problem and possible solutions. 

Proof tutoring works 

Personalized learning can help students increase their test scores and understand a subject they are struggling with because their difficulties can be addressed. For example, a recent study found that elementary students improved their comprehension of math and reading when a tutor was introduced. 

“The magic of tutoring, of course, seems to be this individualized ability to diagnose and hover in ways that just lead to real progress,” Emily Freitag, the CEO of Instruction Partners, told Edweek. The tutor can form more reliable one-on-one relationships with the learners and instill valuable confidence in the struggling student. 

Tutoring challenges 

If individualized learning works so well, why doesn’t every school district make it mandatory in some capacity? There are many reasons that some schools can implement tutors. One of the main challenges is that quality tutors aren’t always available and can be expensive. The University of Chicago Education Lab released a study in 2021 that found that an intense tutoring program costs about $3,800 per student over a school year. Keep in mind that schools that reside in low-income areas and with a higher population of already disadvantaged children are more likely to have students who are struggling more than those in high-income neighborhoods.

 

Aside from the cost, it can be hard to find high-quality tutors willing to work in a public school system. As it is, districts are having difficulty finding enough teachers to fill each classroom, never mind hiring extra staff. Many tutors are opting to serve a private clientele because of the drastic increase in pay. According to the New York Times, a good tutor can charge up to $200 per hour, leaving no need to enter a classroom. These are just a few examples of why tutoring programs may not be as accessible as you initially thought. 

Possible solutions 

The issues that American students face in getting extra educational assistance are not lost on the government or private institutions. However, because each school district in the country can vary so drastically from one to another, there are different solutions for each. For example, according to the news website, “The Mississippi Department of Education signed a $10.7 million contract with Paper, an online tutoring company, to provide live help and writing feedback to 3rd-12th grade students across the state,” ClarionLedger. 

The American Rescue Plan has provided school districts with additional funding to aid in these individual efforts. The money can be used; however, the districts see fit to combat learning loss, among other issues. The funding includes:

  • $122 billion for P-12 schools in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER).
  • Additional $8 billion to states and school districts to meet the needs of particular student populations.
  • $3 billion for students with disabilities. 
  • $800 million for children and youth experiencing homelessness.

According to a White House press release, about 60% of the money has been used to invest in staffing, add tutoring programs, and support students’ physical/mental health. 

        Contact a Rep

While tutoring may not be easy for every student to access right now, steps are being taken to rectify that problem. Reach out to Agile Education today to learn more about how to close the learning gap and learning loss. 

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