Friday, March 17, 2006

Platform Learning is at it again

After the Times and Post disclosed on March 8 that some tutoring companies (notably Platform Learning and Newton Learning) were paying off principals and teachers (and in some cases kids) in some schools in NYC to increase SES attendance, there was a lot of buzz around my school. A lot of the teachers (some who worked for those companies) expressed their misgivings with programs that basically bribe kids to come to tutoring. And it seemed like the DOE wasn't happy these practices, even though they weren't technically illegal.

Anyway, Platform announced a pizza party and a raffle for an IPod yesterday for kids that actually attend the program (very few have been coming), and a bunch of kids signed up. I think it sends the wrong message when companies pay kids to come to their program. Most kids at my school need individual help, and they know it. Whenever I can sit down with a kid one-on-one to work on something after school, almost every kid responds well and works hard to understand their homework, including the kids that teachers have written off. The fact that kids need to be bribed to attend free tutoring shows that SES isn't teaching the kids anything. A number of kids in my program signed up for Newton Learning at the beginning of the year to win $100, but stopped going after a few sessions because it was so boring. And this is going to happen to Platform in a few weeks. Policymakers really need to sit down and think about changing how SES is run (more oversight of these companies would be a great start) because what is happening now just isn't working.


Amerloc said...

Kinda like the old "C'm'ere, little girl - you want some candy?"


Tony Killard said...

This is a very dangerous and misleading article. Throwing pizza parties for kids to come to tutoring is neither wrong or immoral. Platform Learning and Newton work in underserviced markets. The schools and districts they are at are underachieving schools. These are not "A" students they are trying to get. It's not as easy as people think to get the kids to come to tutoring. If throwing a pizza party and giving away an IPOD can get 50 or a 100 kids in tutoring, I'm all for it. It much easier to look in from the outside and critcize. Don't forget that we're talking about something to bring kids into the classroom, nothing else.

Jose said...

Happened at my school last year, too, and it disgusted me. Really, and it still does.