Outsourcing tutoring

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It was invetable. The Washington Post reports that students in the United States are employing tutors overseas (in India, mostly), to help them with math and other difficult subjects, connected by internet telephony.

In an hour—long session that cost just $18, the Indian tutor, who said his name was Mike, spent an hour walking Del Monte through such esoteric concepts as confidence intervals and alpha divisions, Del Monte recalled. He got an A on the final exam. "Mike helped me unscramble everything in my mind," the 20—year—old said.

Thousands of U.S. students such as Del Monte are increasingly relying on overseas tutors to boost their grades and SAT scores. The tutors, who communicate with students over the Internet, are inexpensive and available around the clock, making education the newest industry to be outsourced to other countries.

Now the federal money is to be had, the stakes are rising:

Educational outsourcing has become even more contentious as companies try to tap into the millions of dollars available under the No Child Left Behind Act to firms that provide remedial tutoring. Both Studyloft.com and Growing Stars hope to qualify for those funds.

Teachers unions are vigorously lobbying for legislation that would make it more difficult for overseas tutors to receive No Child Left Behind funds. Weil, of the American Federation of Teachers, said after—school tutors should be required to pass the same rigorous certification process as public school teachers.

"Quality control doesn't end at 3 o'clock when the school bell rings," he said. "If you need a highly qualified teacher in school at 2:59, you should have a qualified teacher as a tutor after school at 3:01."

Ah yes, those qualified teachers are doing such a bang—up job in our unionized classrooms that we need tutors from India.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   5 15 06

It was invetable. The Washington Post reports that students in the United States are employing tutors overseas (in India, mostly), to help them with math and other difficult subjects, connected by internet telephony.

In an hour—long session that cost just $18, the Indian tutor, who said his name was Mike, spent an hour walking Del Monte through such esoteric concepts as confidence intervals and alpha divisions, Del Monte recalled. He got an A on the final exam. "Mike helped me unscramble everything in my mind," the 20—year—old said.

Thousands of U.S. students such as Del Monte are increasingly relying on overseas tutors to boost their grades and SAT scores. The tutors, who communicate with students over the Internet, are inexpensive and available around the clock, making education the newest industry to be outsourced to other countries.

Now the federal money is to be had, the stakes are rising:

Educational outsourcing has become even more contentious as companies try to tap into the millions of dollars available under the No Child Left Behind Act to firms that provide remedial tutoring. Both Studyloft.com and Growing Stars hope to qualify for those funds.

Teachers unions are vigorously lobbying for legislation that would make it more difficult for overseas tutors to receive No Child Left Behind funds. Weil, of the American Federation of Teachers, said after—school tutors should be required to pass the same rigorous certification process as public school teachers.

"Quality control doesn't end at 3 o'clock when the school bell rings," he said. "If you need a highly qualified teacher in school at 2:59, you should have a qualified teacher as a tutor after school at 3:01."

Ah yes, those qualified teachers are doing such a bang—up job in our unionized classrooms that we need tutors from India.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   5 15 06