You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

letters | what price tutoring services?

World’s best school systems don’t exploit idealism of young talent

Thank you for your recent story on low pay for tutors at Match charter schools (Page A1, Dec. 30). Lawrence Harmon’s op-ed (“Define tutors as what they are: volunteers,” Jan. 4) unfortunately drew all of the wrong conclusions from this scandal.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should state that I was a volunteer in VISTA after graduating from college in the 1970s. I made so little money that I had to work as a night watchman on weekends to avoid going on food stamps.

Continue reading below

More recently I’ve studied high-achieving school systems around the world with very different policies from those in the United States. I’ve learned that none of these systems exploits the idealism of young people to advance their most important educational goals. Instead, these systems focus intensively on rigorous teacher preparation and support, especially in the crucial beginning years.

The idea that we should ask volunteers just out of college and with no teaching preparation to be at “the heart of local and national efforts to close the academic achievement gap,” in Harmon’s words, is preposterous. It reflects a dangerous and willful ignorance of the best international evidence on school improvement.

Dennis Shirley

Chestnut Hill

The writer is a professor at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and is co-author, with Andy Hargreaves, of “The Global Fourth Way: The Quest for Educational Excellence.”

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.