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Mandated Tutoring Not Helping Md., Va. Scores

Education watchdog Jack Jennings said the mandate
Education watchdog Jack Jennings said the mandate "isn't helping poor kids." ( File photo)
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Mrs. Dowd's Teaching Service was one of two Maryland tutoring providers linked to higher 2006 reading scores. (Another was linked to higher math scores.) Eileen Dowd, a former Cleveland schoolteacher, said her tutors work with, at most, three students at a time. Children who struggle, she said, get one-on-one attention.

Dowd's tutors work on campuses in Prince George's and Baltimore counties, enabling them to have close contact with teachers, she said. "It's collaborative," she said. "They will come and say: 'Tim is having a hard time focusing. What do you think?' "

Dianne M. Piché, executive director of the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, which supports No Child Left Behind, said the law gives low-income families access to a service that middle-class and wealthy families often use to give their children an edge.

Piché said that schools and tutors should work together more closely and that after-school help should be offered in places accessible to children.

"We need to push the schools and the providers to get it right," she said.

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

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