A MATCH made in heaven?

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Education economist Roland Fryer recently published a paper demonstrating that tutors trained in the methods of the highly regarded project MATCH charter school in Boston helped their students achieve large learning gains. The study reported an effect size roughly 2.5 times greater than those reported by the Harlem Children's Zone and Knowledge Is Power Program schools.

Tutoring of any kind is on the budget chopping block these days. NCTQ'S Teacher Layoff survey found that financially strapped school districts were cutting support staff at alarming rates. As much as these districts might want to hire these kinds of tutors, they simply don't have the resources to do so.

But what if the tutors were provided for free? Teacher prep programs need to provide their candidates with high-quality field experiences in schools. What if they used the same methods that MATCH does to select and train their candidates? They could then supply these effective tutors to districts that are struggling academically and financially. The teacher candidates would receive proven training and have the opportunity to practice these methods. Schools short on support staff would have highly trained pre-service teachers joining their classrooms fulfilling the support staff void. This symbiotic relationship could produce great outcomes on both under staffed schools and teacher education programs.

Leaders of teacher preparation say they want to turn their field upside-down . Here's a golden opportunity to put this commitment to the test.

Amy MacKown