Arizona’s free tutoring program website launches

Funding for the tutoring will be available starting Oct. 2.
Funding for the tutoring will be available starting Oct. 2.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 4:30 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) — The Arizona Department of Education launched on Friday a new website to provide free tutoring to kids. The Achievement Tutoring Program is for kids in third to eighth grade who need help with reading, writing or math. This is part of Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne’s plan to address pandemic-related learning loss.

Students are eligible if they test below proficiency levels and were of school age during the pandemic at public and charter schools. The tutoring program will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Students enrolled in the program will be tutored during 60-minute sessions for up to four days per week during a six-week span. They’ll do a pre-and post-turing test to see if they need to do another six weeks. The tutoring is free since the state is using $40 million in federal COVID-19 relief. Funding for the tutoring will be available starting Oct. 2.

Either a certified teacher or a private vendor approved by the state would do the tutoring, according to Horne. Teachers will be paid $30 per hour. If they make sufficient progress in that six-week window, they will get an additional $200 stipend. A teacher who can find the time to tutor could potentially make $8,000 overall.

The program isn’t without criticism. “Once again, Tom Horne is giving us a sideshow,” Arizona Education Association President Marisol Garcia said. “He is throwing the unneeded chaos into the work of programs serving kids and reneging on promises already made to families so that he can get a cheap headline.” Some of the $40 million was originally set to go to organizations like the Valley of the Sun YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. Twenty-seven grants were modified or canceled. “It feels really abrupt and feels like the rug is being pulled out under us,” Jenna Cooper, vice president of community relations for Valley of the Sun YMCA, said last week.

The Boys & Girls Club said it lost funding for its Whole Child Approach, a three-year program focused on wellness coaching and social and emotional stress. Cassidy Campana, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley spokesperson, said the organization fortunately has a few philanthropic partnerships to help fill the void. “We’re certainly disappointed, but our program will absolutely continue on,” Campana said. “I thought we gave a pretty robust response when asked to show academic progress on a grant that was for wellness coaching.”

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