Bad tutors

New York City students suspended for fighting and other offenses will be given $500 scholarships and credit for tutoring third graders who are at risk of being held back this summer. In theory, the tutors will be repentant students recommended by their teachers. But Ron Isaac, writing in the New York Resident, is dubious about turning bad kids with bad academic skills into tutors. (The column isn’t yet online.)

These high school students, who have been suspended from school for the most serious violations, some of them full-blown crimes, will be thrown into confidential settings with eight-year-old kids to provide tutoring in areas in which the older child may not be competent himself.

. . . Among these “shake and bake” tutors are students who have been suspended for ninety days and reassigned to “Second Opportunity Schools.” The general public is clueless how horrific a student’s behavior must be, in terms of gravity and frequency of actions, for the educational authorities to approve such a suspension and transfer.  Only the worst of the worst, whom public schools cannot expel by law, are welcome.

It’s easy for students to say “sorry” without changing their anti-social behavior, Isaac writes. And meeting academic standards at alternative schools requires very little academics.

. . . to gang members (who are not excluded from the program, though students on the deans list are), “helping” younger kids may imply a different and unwanted kind of influence.  Before we experiment with how they will fare with our most susceptible and innocent third-graders, why not subject them first to a test of faith?  Require them first to show some consistent positive energy in their own classroom. Let that performance be a prelude to new chances.

If there’s money to pay student tutors, why not reward good students with a summer job?

About Joanne


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    How many of these bad-ass 6th grade punks will be making 3rd graders into their bitches and runners? This has to be right up there in the pantheon of real stupid ideas.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    This is a joke, right?
    You have got to be bleeping me.
    Now, does the &&& school system have sovereign immunity? Can they be sued by every parent whose kid is injured by this hot idea?
    Have they run this past the attorneys?
    Oh, man.

  3. Seems to me this is a reward for totally inappropriate behavior. Why are the dean’s list students getting $500?

  4. This is standard do-gooder logic: reward A and hope for B.

    Oddly enough, it doesn’t work.

  5. Administrators are rewarded for developing programs that push the envelope, not for programs that reward good behavior.

    It’s mostly about the resume, and the next step up the ladder.

  6. John Doe says:

    Whatever behavior you reward, you will get more of.

  7. Jon Doe says:

    The behavior being rewarded is tutoring the kids. And there is a failsafe in here: “In theory, the tutors will be repentant students recommended by their teachers.” In theory?? Your sounding more inflammtory all the time, Joanne. You think kids will listen to warnings from the perfect smart kids? If the young ones need tutoring, they’ve probably got little in common with the geeks. The idea is innovative, so I’m sure it’ll be shut down before it gets a chance to be done.

  8. Mike in Texas says:

    Jon Doe,

    Did you read the story?