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Email: julie.lange@ commongroundwi.org
All of our children deserve a great education. Sadly, this is not a reality in our region. In Milwaukee alone, 40% of third graders are reading below average and 45% are below average in math. Through our research, we learned that through the No Child Left Behind Act, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is required to offer free tutoring to low achieving, low income students in failing schools. in 2011-12, MPS was required to set aside up to $15 million for tutoring.
Unfortunately, the tutoring mandate is a failure. Many students who need tutoring do not qualify. Of the 11,000 who do qualify, only about 25% sign up. The program is ineffective, as shown by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research who found that the program has minimal impact on student achievement. Furthermore, the program is expensive. Many tutors charge $80-$90 per hour for each student. For an learning program, as it functions now, it is not a smart way to spend our tax dollars.
While tutoring can’t fix all our education problems, it could make a significant difference to thousands of students.
We have a solution. We aim to develop a new program for students that provides academic assistance outside of the regular school day– one that is effective, accountable and transparent.
Common Ground has secured commitments from MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Evers to work with us towards redesigning the program. It’s time to put the focus back on our children.