Editorials

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.

Advertisement

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...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
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