She cited her experience with her 10-year-old grandson, who she said worshiped the high school boy her daughter had hired to tutor him. “Charlie goes like this” — she mimicked an expression of rapt attention — “every time Abe walks into the room,” she said. (Ms. Fariña’s frequent references to her grandson have become a running joke among principals.)
Chancellor Carmen Fariña Changes New York City Schools’ Course
American parents spend $7 billion annually on tutoring, in some cases as much as $400 an hour, to reassure themselves that they are giving their children every advantage in the academic rat race, and research on the impact of tutoring backs them up.I was talking recently to a member of the school board here, who told me s/he didn't mind hiring tutors, but s/he did mind hiring tutors for "basic education."
Closing the Math Gap for Boys
That makes two members of our school board, that I know of, who pay tutors to teach their children at home. (Last year the then-board president told the administration, on camera, that he had hired a math tutor for his daughter.)
I don't know whether the other three members of the board employ tutors. I'm guessing two of them do. If they haven't hired tutors already, they will, because everyone does.
Our current superintendent's take on the matter: the reason Irvington parents hire tutors is "culture."
That's what his predecessor thought, too.
Her observation -- this is close to a direct quotation -- was "Everyone knows Westchester parents hire tutors because they push their children to get ahead."
I always get my back up, hearing this.
What is it about my culture that makes me waste money on tutors, exactly?
And how is my culture any business of yours, anyway?
And why am I, the parent with the supposedly wonky culture, the focus of analysis?
I don't think I know a single parent, in my district, whose children went through all 13 years of K-12 without tutors, and all but one hired tutors because their children were having trouble, not because their children were at the top of their class but the parents wanted more.
Just one parent I know arguably fell into the "culture" category, but even that parent wasn't hiring tutors because of her culture. Pushing her kids to get ahead because of her culture, yes. Hiring tutors to do the job, no. Hiring tutors was simple realism. She had worked in the schools herself, and was matter of fact about their failings. Rely on your public school for the basics, she told me; for anything beyond the basics, hire a tutor.
That's not culture.
That's survival of the fittest. Her household had assessed the situation they found themselves in, and they had adapted.
My question is: when did this happen?
When did it become taken for granted that kids--all kids--have trouble learning at school, and the solution is for parents to hire tutors?
Echoing my board member, I don't actually mind if (some) parents are hiring tutors just so long as the superintendent minds and is working to reduce the need for tutors.
But he doesn't and he isn't.
Ditto for Carmen Farina, apparently.