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One of the chief complaints of the tutors interviewed for my story on No Child Left Behind-funded tutoring is that the money does not go far enough.
Families basically get a fixed amount of money to pay for tutoring, but because different tutors have different costs, that will buy more tutoring at some centers than others. Some say the amount is too small to effect real change. State officials say that research shows that kids who lag academically need a minimum of 35 hours of quality tutoring to advance, which exceeds what some tutors can provide on the allotted dollars. That can expire in just a few months if a student is getting frequent, intensive tutoring.
“It is just not enough,” said Natalie Nunez, director of Center Stage Theatrical Academy, a nonprofit that tutors kids using playacting. She added, “They need a lot more remedial tutoring than if they were just having a rough patch in math class this month.”
Another group, Kid Angel Foundation, says it backfills for the limited federal money by providing scholarships to needy kids so they can continue studying.
“When we receive our students, they may be two to four years behind in their academic career,” said Kid Angel Foundation founder Barbara Antinoro. “What do you think a few months can do? … So we back it up with another 30 hours at our expense.”