Tutors make a difference
I read with great interest the commentary by Kalman Hettleman (“Tutoring key to school reform,” Oct. 30) regarding the value of one-to-one tutoring. It is because of our commitment to this philosophy that the Department of Mathematics at Towson University has for 14 years continued the America Counts tutoring program started in the Clinton administration by providing tutoring to Baltimore City middle schools and an alternative to incarceration program of the Department of Juvenile Services. This semester, 55 tutors from Towson are providing services free of charge to four city middle schools and the DJS site — 252 hours of tutoring per week. That translates to 252 different middle schoolers who are struggling with basic math receiving one-to-one help. The Towson tutors are evenly divided between volunteers and students paid through financial aid.
Although the sites do not collect hard data on the outcomes of the 10 weeks per semester of tutoring, the principals report that the grades on classroom performance and standardized tests have gone up for the tutored students, discipline problems have been reduced and self-esteem for these students has increased.
One benefit of the tutoring which Mr. Hettleman did not mention is the benefit to the tutor. Our Towson University students experience the gratification of seeing the impact they have on the middle schoolers learning math, the bonding with the kids and learning about issues and environments they never knew about. America Counts is a “win-win” for both the tutors and the students!