Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rank your college by price!

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a new website that ranks colleges in the U.S. based on highest tuition, highest total cost of attendance, and the highest/lowest percent increase in tuition in recent years. This story in the New York Times describes the pros and cons of the new service, which is available for anyone with internet; no log-in information is required for access.

The site, whose creation is a result of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, allows students and parents to compare prices of educational institutions across the line before choosing where to study for the next two to four years. The highest-priced four-year private institutions thus far have been ranked as Bates College in Maine and Wells College in New York. This information, now made public in such a clear manner, should facilitate the decision-making process for rising high school seniors as they debate in which college to invest their next four years of study. Now we can go into this whole taking-out-loans thing with eyes open wide, as the big picture is in full view.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Go viral this summer!

...And win a FREE iPod Touch!

That's right, Tutorpedia's Viral Video Contest is in full swing. The deadline is July 15th and the contest is open to all 6th-12th graders in the Bay Area. The process is fun and easy: create a 30-60 sec. video answering the question, "What have you ever wanted to learn?" and submit said video to YouTube with "Tutorpedia" and "" in the description. Also remember to e-mail the video to our Director, Seth Linden, at with VIRAL VIDEO in the subject line. Not too hard, right? Get to it because...

The winner of this creative contest will receive a - that's right! - free iPod Touch. The second-place winner will receive two hours of 1-1 tutoring from Tutorpedia, to be used in any area of focus. We will pick the winner by recording the number of YouTube views each submitted video receives.

Do you have what it takes to wow us with your media-centered creativity and passion for learning? Get in the game and win! Details on our website here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Achievement gap grows to a gulf

This report from NPR details the extent to which the achievement gap still separates students in the United States. The story focuses on Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. The school has a a tradition of "tracking," or separating students into classes based on their levels of academic performance. In this district of New Jersey, white suburban parents have long opposed mixed-level classes, fearing that their kids will get pulled down by the supposedly inferior abilities of under-achieving students. As a result, remedial or "catch-up" classes are filled with primarily black students, while the honors courses are predominantly white (the school itself is 40% white and 60% black and NPR reports that while kids "mix easily" during recess, they file into separate classes on command when the bell rings). When a high-level class does admit some black students, officials say that they usually stick together while teachers seem to shift their attention toward the larger group of white students.

What have we here? Racial segregation playing out on legally approved school grounds, that's what. Administrators and educators should reconsider what leveled classes are doing to students' expectations and what kinds of racial stereotypes are being perpetrated. Columbia has already made a few efforts to institute mixed-ability classes and has found that the results are surprisingly positive; a lower-ability student usually catches up to the rest of the class rather than "dragging it down." Check out the audio file for the story here and give equal opportunity for education some thought; what can we do to change perceptions of how race and education intersect?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Graduation rates fall in California

A shocking statistics report from a recent article in the LA Times reveals that a whopping 70% of students who enroll in community college in L.A. never complete their education, dropping out half-way through college. This stark number - 70% of community college students in ALL of L.A. county, mind you, are drop-outs - should raise awareness and encourage government officials and educators to take a look at the state of education in our country at this very moment.

The study takes note of 60,000 college students who enrolled in community college in L.A. county in 2003-2004, charting their paths through higher education for six years. The findings are disappointing, to say the least. Budget cuts have definitely affected college resources at community college over the past few years - now, students who choose community college because of financial concerns are being offered even less. California needs to take these drop-out rates under serious consideration. After all, whom are we educating? Where are the kids who drop out going to go? And what consequences will falling graduation rates at these colleges have for the rest of us? The prognosis can't be good; let's act before it's too late.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All the cool kids are doing it...

Check this out! Tutorpedia student Adrian tells us why one-on-one tutoring is important, and why he's chosen to work with Tutorpedia tutors.

Thanks, Adrian! To learn more, visit our website here or e-mail us at to set up some one-on-one tutoring. What's more, you can now sign up for our summer 2011 workshops, held at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton this July and August! Space is limited, so act quickly to get your smarts on during these hot summer months.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why pay to learn?

This intriguing perspective from The New Yorker highlights the importance of learning beyond high school at a higher educational institution. While college is often deemed important for building careers and climbing the social ladder, it is useful to consider other reasons to continue learning beyond 12th grade. After all, a bachelor's degree is a hefty financial investment with lasting consequences for those of us who still carry loans.

So why shell out for four years of tuition, books, and rent instead of holding down a steady full-time job? And, more so, why choose an elite private college instead of a much more reasonably priced public university? Louis Menand argues here that there are two positives to higher learning at a high cost: one, college exposes students to material they otherwise wouldn't have absorbed, thereby making them into more informed, empowered citizens, regardless of their career field; and two, college socializes us to be on the same page when it comes to certain established norms and ways of thinking. And from that base spring independent thought and innovation, both of which move us further as a society.

Hopefully Menand's arguments will help us justify spending thousands of dollars on a degree. After all, life's about making ends meet, but it's also about a lot more than that. Why not learn how to think, critique, and challenge yourself as a creative individual while you're at it?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Girls, let's get a head start!

Presenting...Go Girl Go! Setting Girls Up for Success, a female empowerment workshop designed to boost self-esteem in girls everywhere and to better prepare them for a lifetime of learning and exploring as independent-minded individuals.

Moms: Are you worried that your teen girl is confused, has low self-esteem, or is uncomfortable with herself? Go Girl Go! is a spectacular opportunity for your daughter to build her self-esteem, raise awareness of herself, and become an empowered young woman! Sign up today, but hurry, space is limited and running out fast. Give your daughter the jumpstart/ she deserves to set her up for a lifetime of success!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tutorpedia Video Contest - Win an iPod Touch!

Create a video, make it go viral, win an iPod Touch!

Who: Students in 6th-12th grade in SF Bay Area

What: Make a 30-60 second video answering the question: What have you ever wanted to learn? Email to and download to Tag "Tutorpedia" and in the YouTube video description. Email to friends, post to facebook, twitter, and blogs. Make it go viral!

: Upload video to anytime after 12pm PST June 15th. Contest ends 12pm PST July 15th.

Why: Show off your creative side. Think about learning. Win a free iPod Touch!

*Winner of the Tutorpedia Viral Video Contest will be the video that has the most YouTube views. If same number of YouTube views, then winner will be decided by number of Facebook “likes.” First place video wins an iPod Touch, second place video wins 2 free hours of 1-1 tutoring from Tutorpedia. Send all videos to with VIRAL VIDEO in subject.

By entering this Contest, you give Tutorpedia the right to use your video in all promotional materials, including but not limited to website, blog, and social media sites. Be creative! Think about learning! Spread the word!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Test don't lead to success, reports say

Check out this article from The Washington Post about how test-based incentives don't increase student performance.

The National Research Council recently conducted a report, which concludes that tests such as the High School Exit Exam, STAR testing, and others administered by the No Child Left Behind act do not in any way provide an accurate measure of student achievement. Policymakers and school administrators should heed this warning in designing programs meant to measure their students' success. Often students' test results will be used to evaulate teachers and principals in terms of their effectiveness in education - these methods are faulty, the report conducted by the NRC indicates.

Clearly, as the Obama adminisration has indicated and as this article also argues, standardized testing should be on its way out as a tool for measuring teacher and student success. Using standardized tests as the basis for school funding is a dangerous trap, one in which United States education policy has been caught for far too long.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Become a language whiz!

Tutorpedia is offering two workshops this summer to help you brush up on your knowledge of languages and effective communication. That's right, it's time to sign up for the innovative Spanish Immersion workshop and Public Speaking workshop!

Enter a different universe where only Spanish is spoken without even leaving the country with our special Spanish Immersion course, offered this summer at Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton. You'll be ready for that trip abroad and rock your Spanish classes in high school before you know it with the help of this workshop. And, while you're mastering a foreign language, why not become an effective public speaker in your mother tongue? Our Public Speaking workshop is here to help. Say good-bye to stage fright and wow audiences with your eloquent, witty phrasework! It's all here at Sacred Heart Prep from July 11 to August 19. Sign up for one of three two-week sessions; or sign up for them all! E-mail for further questions.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wake up, California! Dream Act gains headway

This morning's story on NPR highlights recent headway made by proponents of the Dream Act, which is slowly making its way through the state legislature this summer. Currently, legislators are trying to make financial aid for college-enrolled illegal immigrants a possibility. Those without papers who have been enrolled in college for three semesters will qualify for state-sponsored scholarships.

The story profiles the efforts of several students at UCLA who, while maintaining high GPAs, are barely making ends meet while in school; tuition amounts to $4000 per quarter, and the students don't qualify for state-sponsored financial aid because of their illegal status. Having been brought to the states at the ages of 3, 4, and 6, the students say themselves that they are "American in every sense of the word." Yet, though they excel in school, financial aid has never been an option for these three, whose parents are barely making enough to get by and cannot support them.

Now, perhaps California is finally taking its first steps toward ensuring quality education for its hard-working students, regardless of their place of birth.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Do you have a green thumb? Let things grow this summer!

Join Tutorpedia's Summer 2011 Workshops this July and August at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, CA. We will be presenting a special Sustainable Agriculture workshop, where you will learn all about sustainable farming and gardening in a personalized, project-based setting. This fun and rigorous course will spark your interest in responsible, sustainable gardening. So get ready to take charge of your own food production and get with the green! Details on the workshop can also be found here.

And remember - those who register before July 1st receive a discount! Tutorpedia is offering three sessions of two-week-long courses from July 11 to August 19. For further questions regarding the workshops, scheduling, and curriculums, feel free to e-mail us at

Friday, June 3, 2011

Media-crazy? We have just the thing for you...

Sign up for Tutorpedia's Final Cut Pro (video editing) workshop this summer! Space is running out quickly but we wanted to extend the invite to all of our faithful blog readers and friends. Check out further details on our site and remember to reserve a spot for yourself here; prices go up after July 1st so don't lose any time!

Now is the time to brush up on your media editing skills and move forward with the 21st century. There's no knowing what you can do once you become more tech-savvy! Our summer 2011 workshops are here to help...Personalized, rigorous, and fun, these project-based courses are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all you summer-crazy folk. Hollywood awaits!