Interesting article in the Washington Post today about federally funded tutors. I did not know that students that fail to meet targets for 3 years in a row get federally funded tutoring - but it seems like this provision is paying off, at least for some students. The more important question this article raises is whether tutoring is, at its core, helpful and/or essential.
Here's why it's helpful and/or essential - sometimes a teacher's style does not connect well with a certain student, leading to results that are not up to a student's (or parent's) desired level. This difficulty to connect is no surprise because most class sizes have enough students that a teacher can't teach directly to every student whereas in a 1 to 1 tutoring session a (good) tutor can adapt to a student's needs. To me, this is the chief benefit of tutoring over teaching in a classroom. It's also why I've never understood certain services that offer to do test prep or class tutoring but all they're do is cram 15-20 students in a room and teach them like a normal class.
The other key here, in regards to tutoring, is how affordable (and thus in many cases available) tutoring should be to students. I would venture to say that most of the federally funded tutors are tutoring lower income students - but I wonder if these lower income students would "upgrade" to higher priced services if money were not an issue. Furthermore, I wonder if the results of their tests would further improve. We'll never know, at least until affordable tutoring is provided in all the metro areas of the study cited above.