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And now… Common Core tutors

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It was inevitable.

First we got the Common Core State Standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia and intended to raise the academic achievement of students everywhere. To assess whether that was happening, we got high-stakes standardized tests aligned with the Core, because, in today’s school reform world, standardized tests are the key evaluation metric. A new market of Core-aligned products, apps and websites popped up, and now, to make sure that students can handle all things Core, we have Common Core tutors.

Yes, academic tutors have started to market themselves as being knowledgeable enough about the Common Core standards to provide individual help to struggling students.

For example, at the website Moonlyt, a new online site for teaching and learning, tutors are listed according to their “expertise,” and Common Core is one of the possibilities. So, for example, one tutor advertising services is a young man named Matthew from Harvard University who can help students, for $35 an hour, in subjects including Humanities, College & Test Prep, and Common Core, among other areas.

A Brooklyn-based learning company called Arc to Learn advertised earlier this year with this:

Get your child ready for the school year with 1-on-1 tutoring on the new Common Core standards.

Every child is unique. Why should your tutoring be one size fits all?

A company called Omega Learning says on its website:

Omega offers a comprehensive solution to the common core challenges. Our remediation curriculum is common core aligned, which means our tutors can help your child build critical thinking skills and achieve increased classroom performance.

What makes the curriculum changes in schools an unusually big opportunity for tutoring companies to expand their businesses is the fact that most states now will have the same standards and many will give students the same standardized tests. As a result, a company in New York, for example, can provide online services to a student in Hawaii much easier than in the past, when each state had its own standards and assessments. As FoxBusiness reported in this story:

“Let’s say you have a grade-7 certified teacher in Washington. Because they know what the expectations are … they can leverage that same skill-set in Minnesota,” says Nathan Arora of the Educators Group, which operates online-tutoring company SchoolTutoring Academy.

“It’s a huge benefit for hiring,” he says, because the company isn’t forced to find local teachers in each state to meet demands.

And Jim Damiani, the founder of TeachPro Franchises, says the Common Core practice test he developed in 2009 has found interested buyers spread out across the country, as various states began implementing the new standards.

If there’s one common pattern in this era of corporate-influenced school reform: Whenever a new reform is introduced, new ways to make money off it inevitably follow.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · November 25, 2013

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