Too-far tutors

New York City’s left-behind students can’t work with online tutors based in India, say the city’s education officials, because Indian tutors haven’t completed background checks. Despite improving students’ test scores, Socratic Learning lost its $2 million contract under No Child Left Behind when the city discovered 250 tutors work from India not company headquarters in Texas.

Socratic sends tutors’ fingerprints — obtained at Indian police stations — to the FBI and monitors tutor-student communications, reports the Times of India.

But there was a catch. Not only did the NYC insist on teachers being physically present to have their fingerprints recorded, but they were also required to furnish social security numbers. “How can foreign tutors produce U.S Social Security numbers? The whole system simply puts a crimp on distance learning,” (Socratic CEO Raj) Sobhani said.

Perhaps it’s not about protecting students from harm.

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