Title I Tutoring Vouchers?

Published October 1, 2003

Work-study programs are not the only way to engage college students in tutoring programs. A parent with a child who needs tutoring could easily post a flyer in a college dorm to hire a student, work-study or not, to sit with that child at the kitchen table every weekend at, say, $10 per hour, and work on math and reading skills or on homework.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires failing schools to provide outside tutoring, but that provision has not yet been leveraged on behalf of parents, argues MATCH School founder and CEO Michael Goldstein. When asked, administrators at failing schools usually point parents to existing tutoring programs. However, if school districts offered the $1,000 per student of Title 1 funds to low-income parents as a tutoring voucher, this would enable parents to make their own decisions about tutors, including hiring college students.

The MATCH School’s experience with tutors indicates some structure quickly develops as numbers increase. At MIT, the work-study tutors are organizing themselves into groups of eight, with at least two in each group from the previous year’s program to ensure experience is passed on to new tutors. The MATCH School also organizes a tutor fair where tutors offer their expertise and the times when they are available, and parents shop around for the tutor who provides the best fit for the needs of their children.