Scaling Tutoring Nationwide – 3 Proposals

Below are three proposals for scaling tutoring nationwide to combat the learning loss experience during COVID-19:

1. A new EdWorking Paper by Matthew Kraft and Grace Falken, “A Blueprint for Scaling Tutoring Across Public Schools” explores how tutoring could be scaled nationally to address COVID-19 learning loss and become a permanent feature of the U.S. public education system. The authors outline a blueprint centered on ten core principles and a federal architecture to support adoption, while providing for local ownership over key implementation features. High school students would tutor in elementary schools via an elective class, college students in middle schools via federal work-study, and full time 2- and 4-year college graduates in high schools via AmeriCorps. Authors envision an incremental, demand-driven expansion process with priority given to high-needs schools. The blueprint highlights a range of design tradeoffs and implementation challenges as well as estimates of program costs. Estimates suggest that targeted approaches to scaling school-wide tutoring nationally, such as focusing on K-8 Title I schools, would cost between $5 and $15 billion annually.

For more, see:

2. Khan Academy, the online tutoring site, was already experiencing a record number of users due to school disruptions when its founder, Sal Khan, began overseeing the creation of a free online tutoring platform. Now, months later, he and others think it’s a scalable blueprint for a national tutoring effort, one that could match knowledgeable adult volunteers — as well as millions of young people who have mastered key concepts — with students in need.

Educators are taking note. Schoolhouse.World has the official endorsement of top education officials in two states — Rhode Island and New Hampshire — as a platform for tutoring statewide, with more expected to sign on soon.

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3. The Tutoring Marshall Plan, proposed by Robert Slavin and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, encompasses the following timeline:

Spring 2021– Fund existing tutoring programs and the development of new programs to build capacity to to serve thousands of struggling students. 

Fall 2021 to Spring 2022 – Provide restricted funds to Title I schools throughout the United States to enable them to hire up to 150,000 tutors to implement proven programs, across all grade levels, 1-9, and in reading and mathematics. Schools would implement their chosen programs using tutors who have college degrees and experience with tutoring, teaching or mentoring children. Teacher-training institutions and school districts should be funded to work together to design accelerated certification programs for outstanding tutors.

Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 – Title I schools should be funded to enable them to hire a total of 300,000 tutors. 

The Tutoring Marshall Plan is grounded in the proposition that tutoring programs should be rigorously studied and reviewed for effectiveness, and only the programs that achieve improved student outcomes should be scaled.

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While these are only three of many ideas for a national tutoring corps, they are among some of the most promising.