Tutoring Builds Relationships and Rigor

When he was a boy, Barack Obama's mother would wake him up at 4:30 a.m. to tutor him for a few hours before he went off to school. David Brooks of The New York Times reports that this experience is the perfect preparation for reforming American education because it highlights the two traits necessary for academic success: relationships and rigor.

The young Obama had a loving relationship with an adult passionate about his future. He also had at least one teacher, his mom, not inclined to put up with any crap. President Obama now wants to use student and teacher data to drive education reform. As much as tutors can help students prepare for state and national standardized tests, these data points are not the sole measure of a student's success. Until we can find tests that more accurately measure problem-solving skills and critical thinking ability, these tests will only tell part of the picture.

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