The demand for private academic tutoring has increased and much of that increase can be attributed to the cutbacks in educational services students are receiving in public schools.
Jill Myers who owns the Santa Monica franchise of the Tutoring Club told the Mirror her “client load has tripled since the start of this academic year.” Most of her students are in Kindergarten through twelfth grade but she also has clients who are attending Santa Monica College or who are preparing to take the military’s ASVAB test. Her program also helps students attain their GED (General Education Diploma) and prepare for college admission tests such as the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).
Parents usually seek out the Tutoring Club after they learn from parent-teacher conferences that their kids are struggling. Myers uses the same standardized tests that the students take annually in California to assess “exactly where they are” in their academic skills. She then helps tailor a program to their specific needs to help them achieve their goals. This is particularly important because public school class size increases are hurting individualized academics.
Myers also mentioned that due to the downturn in the economy she has her pick of highly qualified tutors due to job losses or their inability to find full-time teaching positions. She also has tutors working for her that have lost their teaching jobs and are tutoring while they retrain to enter another profession.
According to Myers, the weak economy has also led her to team up with other after-school-programs in the area. One such example is her partnership with the Green Brooms Music Academy for the month of December. If a client signs up for a certain number of tutoring hours with the Tutoring Club they can also get a certificate for some free music lessons. This helps families deal with the cutbacks seen in public school music programs.
Another partnership Myers is working on is with Santa Monica Vikings Youth Football And Cheerleading (SMYFAC). They help kids aged 6-13 to participate in football and cheerleading at a time when physical education is being cut in many schools. The idea is to find someone to sponsor transportation after school for students to either tutoring or music and then bring the students to SMYFAC. She hopes the partnership can be in place for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Myers also mentioned that “kids are very stressed these days.” Some of this stress is being caused by the increased pressure to keep their grades up to get into college. She noted that there are fewer places in California’s community colleges due to budget cuts, that the California State University system is now only admitting students for the fall semester, and the University of California has just increased their fees by 32 percent. The goal of her program is to “create a place where students can breathe and get the support they need” in order to compete in an increasingly competitive world.