Tutoring Jobs of the Future
show comments
  • Anthony

    “Competition for top schools is now pushing American parents to do what parents in China, Japan, and Korea have been doing for a long time now.” To extrapolate WRM, the intense middle school pressure projects parental desire to access elite universities and as a spillover effect perhaps entreprenurial opportunity.

  • thibaud

    A bit more complicated than that, Anthony. Tutors excel at patient explanation reinforced by repetition and drilling.

    Repetitive exercises are anathema to many American parents, whatever their ideology or socio-economic status, because of decades of cultural stigmatizing of “rote learning” as somehow hostile to individual achievement and even democracy.

    In reality, as parents in Asia (and also those raised in the communist systems of Eastern Europe) know well, it is impossible for anyone of any age to master non-intuitive subjects such as arithmetic, algebra, grammar, historical timelines and fact sets, chemistry etc without relentless repetition and rote exercises. Not that drilling is sufficient to become educated, by any stretch, but it is a necessary precondition for mastery of any academic subject.

    As the Russians say, “pvtoreniye, mat’ ucheniye” (repetition is the mother of learning”). Asians know this, as do hebraic scholars, and for that matter, music teachers and sports coaches. But for some reason, Americans don’t want repetition in their schools any more.

    Given that drilling is now all but absent from American primary and secondary education, the only place where a parent can get an outside party to perform the difficult chore of teaching a child to learn his multiplication tables, or algebra, or parts of speech etc is through a competent private tutor.

  • Jamespetrelli

    ^^The Romans said it before the Russians, thibaud:

    Repetitio est mater studiorum.

  • Anthony

    @2: Thibaud, I am not attempting to dismiss complexity of competence gap in K-12 education vis-a-vis OECD countries. My point relative to Quick Take’s premise remains middle school tutoring explosion (intimated by WRM) only secondarily avails entrepreneurial opportunities; as I read synopsis, the motivating factor is academic selection post secondary and if acquisition comes by tutoring then innovative entrepreneurs can provide requite services….

  • Anthony

    Thibaud, I also concur that content is skill and skill is content and that the acquisition of academic skills (such as math problem solving, etc.) cannot be left to providential thinking.

  • Anthony

    Correction: should be requisite services…

  • Jim.

    And so the price of a top-quality degree increases even further, as the price to buy in rises, further reducing its marginal value.

    (That’s a bad thing.)

    The only good thing to come of this on a large scale is if these tutors explore those new educational strategies and avenues of education reform that VM advocates in its other posts.

    That has interesting general implications… if we have terrible intractable problems, keep throwing otherwise unemployed minds at them (in pursuit of their daily bread).

  • thibaud

    Not necessarily, Jim. In most metropolitan areas it’s pretty easy to find a good Russian or other E. European emigre math tutor for a very affordable rate. Probably true for the hard sciences as well, for HS-aged kids.

  • Kenny

    Thibaud is right on the money — repetition and drill set the foundation for more advanced learning. How can it be otherwise?

    The irony here is that the American public schools turn their collective noses up at repetition & drill — at least when it comes to academics. But our government schools practice it with a vengeance when it comes to sports.

    And a further irony is that sports is where the American public school might actually excel in international competition.

    You would think that the drips running our schools would take notice, but alas, they don’t.

  • Surely you jest.

  • “and performance on fourth- and fifth-grade standardized tests is crucial to getting into one of those schools”

    Really? Can these parents get a life, please? And therefore allow their kids to have one?

    “My child must get into the elite 6th grade public school, or else her life is ruined!”

    Get a grip, people.

  • thibaud

    Kenny – it’s a deep cultural problem, and a uniquely American one. The private schools that emphasize repetition and basic skills attract an overwhelmingly Asian, to a lesser extent East European, clientele. Even those American-born parents who choose private schools do not want repetition and drilling.

    We like to comfort ourselves in pretending that American creativity, ingenuity etc make the difference, but not if you lack fundamental skills.

    We recognize the absurdity of a young would-be Michael Jordan who expects to get by on his vertical leaping ability and other acrobatics when he hasn’t learned how to dribble with his left hand, or pick and roll, or shoot accurately. But for some weird cultural reason, we don’t want our kids to put in the hours needed to learn math or grammar or history or chemistry.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.