Let par­ents de­cide how best to help their kids

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Robert Hol­land, Ar­ling­ton Heights, Ill. The writer is a se­nior fel­low for ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy at The Heart­land In­sti­tute.

Re­gard­ing the op-ed “Tu­tor­ing should head ed­u­ca­tion re­form agenda” (Oct. 28): Yes, pri­vate tu­tor­ing has helped many strug­gling stu­dents and can lift many more. How­ever, Kal­man Het­tle­man’s vi­sion sounds sus­pi­ciously like more top-down agenda-set­ting with heavy gov­ern­men­tal in­volve­ment in fund­ing and rule mak­ing.

A su­pe­rior ap­proach would al­low par­ents to use Ed­u­ca­tion Sav­ings Ac­counts (ESAs) — cre­ated from a por­tion of public funds al­lot­ted to their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion — to pur­chase the ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices each child most needs. That might or might not in­clude a tu­tor. It might be on­line in­struc­tion, or a home-school cur­ricu­lum, or a ther­a­peu­tic pro­gram. Or it might be a com­bi­na­tion — a tu­tor plus other ser­vices. Par­ents know their chil­dren bet­ter than any bu­reau­crat and should set the agenda.

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