Houston, We Have a Problem

by Robert Pondiscio
June 30th, 2008

I’m all about committed parenting, academic rigor and student achievement so why does it feel excessive to me that children as young as four are being tutored to get ahead in school? The Houston Chronicle reports some parents are hiring tutors, “because they’re feeling the pressure of looming high-stakes tests, which begins in Texas with the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for third-grade children. Others are thinking about college.”

Houston-area tutors work with hundreds of young children on phonics, numbers, colors, study skills and fine motor skills. Some take children as young as 3 1/2 . But some caution that putting pressure on young children might give them a distaste for school. Rather than spending upward of $45 an hour on private tutors, they say parents should use outings to stores, libraries and museums as teaching moments.

“A child needs summer,” Kay Hall, director of the Early Learning Academy in the Spring school district tells the paper.  ”There’s a lot of learning that can take place over the summer, but it doesn’t need to be in a classroom in a structured environment.”

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