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Turnaround on the cheap: Math tutors’ pay doesn’t add up

English High School in Jamaica Plain is one of two underperforming schools where math tutors are planned as part of a turnaround strategy.
Tamir Kalifa for The Boston Glob/file 2012
English High School in Jamaica Plain is one of two underperforming schools where math tutors are planned as part of a turnaround strategy.

Re “Union says it should be representing math tutors” (Metro, June 7): Do I have this right? Boston is attempting a high-stakes turnaround of two underperforming schools. It’s a last-ditch effort to keep them from being taken over by the state. Intensive math tutoring is a key strategy.

Yet the tutors are to be paid $20,000 a year. You can make more tending the cash register at Whole Foods.

Who do they expect to get for that? Fresh-faced kids straight out of school? The ones who are good at math can get better jobs. That’s why we want school kids to learn math in the first place.

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Perhaps a few idealistic new college grads? Trying to live in Boston on $20,000 a year will leave them exhausted, and the good ones will quit.

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When a corporation needs turning around, the turnaround wizards get millions of dollars a year, and are seen as worth it because the future of the company is in their hands. Yet when the future of two Boston public schools is put in the hands of math tutors, they get paid barely better than minimum wage. Talk about undervaluing education.

Abby Hafer

Bedford