Students in the United Kingdom will have an extra resource as they head back to school: a $450 million national tutoring program that Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum describes as “an army of tutors.” The hope is that they will help make up for the learning loss so many children have had as a result of pandemic-related school closures and distance learning.
The program, which is targeted toward students from low-income families, will take place both in-person and virtually, depending on their area’s COVID-19 numbers.
So far, though, the United States has not mobilized a national response to our own students’ learning loss. This problem is compounded by the fact that 15 million students in this country lack access to reliable internet.
And even for those students who have good internet at home there are still learning loss issues with distance learning, such as divided attention and misunderstandings that teachers aren’t able to address one on one.
School is right around the corner. These students need solutions, fast.
The U.S. Has Options
None of this has to be a permanent situation. One potential solution that is already being discussed by members of both parties is increasing funds and staffing to AmeriCorps.
A bipartisan group of Senators have backed a plan to substantially increase slots in national service programs, including AmeriCorps. The proposal would double the number of positions to 150,000 this year and further expand it over the next couple of years.
Many AmeriCorps members already work in schools, and bill backers say it would increase students’ access to tutoring and mentoring.
Tune into Access Denied on Citizen Ed’s Facebook Live every Friday at noon Eastern to get more information about solutions for students in the pandemic and beyond.