May 31, 2018
In the early 1970’s, I taught third grade at Easton Elementary School which is near Morgantown, WV, the home of West Virginia University. Easton served a blue-collar, rural area. It was a Title 1 (poverty) school.
Along came MacMillian Publishers. For one year, they sponsored a tutoring program at Easton. The tutors were moms and other interested persons from the community. MacMillian provided training for these moms, materials and an on-site trainer. Students were tutored individually and in small-groups daily.
At the end of that school year, according to national tests, each of my students gained a year or more in achievement. That means that if a student entered my class reading at a first-grade level, he left reading at a second-grade level.
The fact is that every student left my class for grade four reading at a third-grade level or higher. This was so for all areas including math. No student left third grade scoring below grade three in any area of learning.
The tutoring paid off. The extra attention, the extra teaching, the having an extra person rooting for them made this happen.
So. In view of the drug crisis, the neighborhood and school violence crisis and the elder poverty crisis, I suggest that every child in America receive daily tutoring.
That’s every child: poverty, wealthy, rural, inner-city, public school, private school, conservative, liberal. Every child.
One-to-one tutoring gives every child someone in their corner, someone who not only listens and teaches, but who, also, observes, takes note, gives help or finds help for the student.
Consider that if someone had observed certain needs of certain individuals, the school shootings might not have happened.
Consider that if someone had given encouragement, hope and direction, certain individuals might not have taken drugs or joined gangs.
Consider that if someone helps lift someone up, helps them stand and then stand alone, individuals might see alternatives to gangs and violence.
There are many retired teachers who would love to work with children but who no longer desire to manage a classroom. There are many retirees who would welcome the chance to increase their income and do good.
Remember that MacMillian trained the moms and interested people in the neighborhood. These folks didn’t have college degrees. They had a desire to help their kid and the other children in the neighborhood.
Providing a one-to-one daily tutor for each child could be a major piece of the solution for ending drug, gang and violence in our schools and neighborhoods.
It is certainly a way to end elder poverty. Grandmothers, grandfathers and other retired persons would be perfect tutors.
There is a national call to end the drug/gang/elder poverty crisis in our nation. A healing is needed.
Healing does not happen unless there is a vision, a why and a how.
The vision is each child in American receiving daily, one-to-one tutoring so that learning is enhanced and problems spotted and resolved.
The why is to end the drug/gang/elder poverty crisis.
The how is to employ retired folks, trained them to tutor, observe and problem-solve and then assign them as tutors to the students. Some of the student problems a trained tutor could spot and help solve are rejection and loneliness or homelessness and hunger or fear of bullies and gangs.
The details are left to each of you who sees that daily, one-to-one tutoring for every child is a viable, workable piece needed to help our schools and communities become safe, peaceful, fun and productive places.
And so it is.
And so it is.
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