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    Tutoring, a societal and economic imperative.

    male tutor with high school student looking papers

    When students thrive, the entire community gains. 

    The future of every community depends on the ability of educators to provide the structure and support that turns students into productive members of society. These productive graduates feed the local economy as future employees, business owners, and community leaders. 

    Sometimes, students have academic setbacks and need extra support. Unresolved learning loss creates a ripple effect that impacts a community’s economic stability, social determinants, and overall safety. The need for effective tutoring to close their achievement gaps is crucial not only for their own personal success, but also to ensure the best future for the community.  

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    Learning loss means billions of dollars in lost economic gain. 

    The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) published a brief in 2023 with some startling findings. Standardized test scores nationally have regressed to levels achieved in the 1990’s, eroding 30 years of progress. 

    We’re now talking about millions of at-risk students across the nation who are struggling to meet grade-level standards. Even the American Psychological Association is now looking at the impact created by the collision of a national teacher shortage and pandemic. The test scores are simply that alarming.  

    In a recent article by EdWeek, Learning Loss May Cost Students Billions in Future Earnings. How Districts Are Responding, the author warns that the NEAP analyses paints “...a dire picture of the country’s economic future based on steep slides in academic achievement.” 

    Ed Week talked with several researchers who predict that states will take an economic hit proportionate to how badly students’ NAEP scores declined. They say students impacted by the pandemic will see a 6-9% decrease in lifetime earnings.  

    This translates to billions — even trillions — of dollars unrealized for communities across the nation. 

    The socio-emotional impact on community.

    Not only is learning loss detrimental to the economic viability of communities, but there is also a sociologicalGuide: Expert tips for sustaining a high-impact tutoring program. Get the Guide. factor. This May 2024 article published by Mental Health America  shares the research that falling behind in school goes hand in hand with mental health. 

    When students struggle to keep pace in the classroom, their self-esteem can take a hit. This lack of confidence may manifest in behavioral issues such as increased absenteeism or aggression. It's crucial to address these challenges to support students in their academic journey. 

    Unchecked, this can extend beyond individual students to impact the wider community. When students are frequently absent and left unsupervised at home, they are at risk of failing to graduate or graduating without the essential skills to thrive in a productive capacity.

    Tutoring programs aren’t just nice-to-have anymore. 

    As community leaders, district superintendents and school leaders are responsible for addressing these trends. District administrators who showed remarkable leadership during the pandemic, alongside those who stepped up when others left the education sector, are now facing the task of rebuilding. 

    As year-end standardized scores return, many districts are realizing the extent of the long-term academic challenges they still face. For some, the uphill climb now has a detour as funding for essential tutoring programs through ESSER are disappearing.  

    Some lucky districts are getting the support they need. In Michigan and Virginia, the legislatures have allocated funding to get students back up to speed.  

    “Learning loss is incredibly hard to recover,” said Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin when he announced the “ALL in VA” tutoring program launch. “Our youngest students, the third-through-eighth graders, who never had the opportunity to truly learn the foundations, those building blocks for the rest of life — they do not rebound at the flip of a switch.” 

    Virginia’s $418 million learning loss recovery plan recommends school districts use most of the funding for “high dose” tutoring.  Leaders in these states know that investing in learning recovery is essential to the future of their economies. 

    Rally your community to support tutoring—invest in it! 

    So, what can districts do? We often hear that district human resources teams struggle to recruit qualified tutors and administrators have difficulty dedicating a resource to manage a solid tutoring program.  

    At Kelly Education, we work with hundreds of school districts that look to us to solve or consult on their school staffing challenges. We’ve become experts in deploying the high-impact model of tutoring that Virginia has embraced. As a best practice approach, students respond well to: 

    • high dosage tutoring: 2-3 sessions a week 
    • during school hours  
    • consistent, well-trained, and trusted in-person tutors 
    • using district curriculum 

    We’ve found that these tutors live in school communities and come from all walks of life. Some are degreed professionals, college students, and retirees who are looking for something rewarding to do–they are motivated to do meaningful work in schools.  

    What’s more, by employing people from the local community, districts are making an investment in their community—both economically and socially. Students enjoy working with and building relationships with people who understand and reflect their local demographics.  

    School communities are part of local communities. Students who need additional academic support should not be allowed to "fall through the cracks” because the district didn't invest in an evidence-based best tutoring program. When the entire community gets involved with education, we all thrive.

    District guidance to sustaining an effective tutoring program. Get it now.


    About Kelly Education Tutoring Solutions: If your district is struggling to scale and sustain a high-impact tutoring program, check out our guide to help districts build their high-impact tutoring programs. It provides practical guidance about the common issues we see schools encounter when scaling, funding, and managing a program. You can also reach out for a consultation to learn how we customize and scale our programs to meet the needs of individual school communities.

    About the Author: Stephanie Wall, Ed.D. is the director of learning for Kelly Education. A former district and building administrator, Dr. Wall has 13 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher in both elementary and secondary grade levels. She is endorsed in Elementary Education, Reading, Teaching English as a Second Language, Spanish, and Educational Leadership. Dr. Wall is passionate about closing student achievement gaps through innovation and documented best practices. 

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