Casual Minnesota vetting allowed tutor vendors to slip through

  • Article by: JEFFREY MEITRODT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 4, 2012 - 2:32 PM

Minnesota's relaxed attitude in regulating the government's tutoring program burdened school districts with questionable companies.

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  • Comments

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swatisedJun. 3, 12 7:32 PM

This the ugly and poorly documented underside of private education products and systems. In this case - the payments should be tied to performance gains in school district administered state-standard testing results. If the students fail ... then the company suffers too.

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educator1Jun. 3, 12 7:41 PM

Why did Mn Dept of Ed allow this to go on?

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uptownbred63Jun. 3, 12 7:50 PM

I am a St. Paul teacher though I don't work in public schools. The public is being misled so badly in the education debate. We blame teachers and unions without educating (no pun intended) ourselves about the real problems. Leadership, from the federal and state level is the real problem. Kids don't have to behave, parents sue even though their kids are the problem, and our decision making at the administrative level is abysmal. Teachers are so often blamed but if you gave us the chance we could fix the system tomorrow. This tutoring issue is a perfect example of the decision making I'm talking about. Spend money foolishly in an attempt to fix a problem. Here's the fix- Blow up (not literally) the administrative offices of all districts and fire all the administrators other than principals. Put 20 kids in each classroom in grades K-3 and 25 kids in grades 4-5. Use the same low class size throughout middle school and high school. QUIT BUYING CANNED CURRICULUM every 3-5 years! Every 10 would work just fine. Develop an agreed upon set of skills that kids should have as they leave each grade level. AND THEN LET TEACHERS DO WHAT WE ARE EDUCATED TO DO!!!!! Of course there will be teachers that aren't great, but all professions have some of these people. Spend money only on the classrooms and the people that provide direct education to your children. Healthcare suffers from the same fate. So... put the blame for our faltering system where it belongs. On the people that are trying to do too many things for too many people. It's like a backseat driver that thinks they know everything when they know very little. I spend my days in the trenches and I may not know everything, I know a lot more than the decision makers.

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gophfan10101Jun. 3, 12 7:53 PM

I think we should be asking why the State is using taxpayer money to pay for tutors at all. We already pay for their education and everyone in the same class learns the same lesson. The state shouldn't have to foot the bill if your kid cant keep up. That responsibility should fall on the parents.

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uptownbred63Jun. 3, 12 7:56 PM

One final comment. Measuring student achievement and teacher accountability is a fallacy. Measuring student success by a test is ridiculous and contributes greatly to cost. But, like so many things, Americans fall for lies so easily. Teachers are the most supervised workers in the country desppite what many people think. Ask my parents how I'm doing. I work hard every day and I put in at least 2 hours above the time I spend with my kids. And, that is the norm friends.

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fourmorebhoJun. 3, 12 8:06 PM

It's not their money, so who cares?

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editor25Jun. 3, 12 8:34 PM

Good comment uptownbred63. But you miss the overall point: Education reform as practiced today is all about PROFIT EXTRACTION by corporate America. The reason these tutoring companies are so crappy is because THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY. Making money is job one, not teaching children. The point is to make as much money as quickly as possible before anyone finds out they don't really give a damn about children. Same goes for charter schools, standardized testing, getting rid of teacher seniority, implementing Teach for America, etc. ad infinitum. Death by a thousand cuts for our schools, but big profits for corporate America.

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armi0020Jun. 3, 12 8:41 PM

As for kids failing in school, the biggest finger should be pointed squarely at their parents. Beyond that, uptownbred63 put it well. Or should I say 'put it good', lol.

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totaltruthJun. 3, 12 8:43 PM

swatised - ""the payments should be tied to performance gains in school district administered state-standard testing results. If the students fail ... then the company suffers too"""

If you think that this will work, then it also should be done with teachers' salaries!!!!!

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capsule2Jun. 3, 12 9:10 PM

Lower taxes, and privatization is digging this countries grave.

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