@gcigale Tweets

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Service Cuts Hurt Real Children

As a business, Tutor.com's health is dependent on keeping a high percentage of our institutional customers (libraries, schools, educational organizations, companies) renewing their homework help and online tutoring programs year after year. Some years are tougher than others, but even in this year's harshest economic conditions of our lifetimes, 9 out of 10 customers have decided to renew and continue their programs.

In the face of severe budget cuts at schools and libraries, something valuable often has to go, and many of these decisions were not easy. In some cases, the Tutor.com program did not make the cut. One such case, with a library system in Stockton, CA, children (and some parents) who use their online tutoring program regularly, were given the chance to share their thoughts about the service cut.

As a business, we hate to lose even one customer. As a group of people who come to work empowered by the help our tutors provide to thousands of kids each day, seeing the effect of budget cuts on real kids is gut-wrenching. So, instead of keeping these feelings to ourselves, I thought I'd share the pain a bit. Here is a small sample of the thoughts from the last couple weeks, un-edited, from Stockton:

*****

-- "when i need help this is where i understand the most"

-- "I think tutor.com service is excellent web because it allows me to help my children with their daily homework. Please keep it on. Reopen it. Thank you"

-- "I say that they should not shut this program.. this program has helped me a lot to understand my homework. I need help right know and i would not be able to get it.... but i support this program and it think they should keep it... it will make people get better grades..."

-- "It has been an absolutely wonderful service for help, especially for students in need of desperate guidance while struggling in schoolwork. I myself can testify to that, as there have been many times in which I would be stuck on a math problem or an essay question and have minor headaches as a result. The tutors are indeed intelligent and kind as well, never failing to attempt assisting our homework-conquering. :) I am so grateful for this service; I would be grieved, yes, GRIEVED if the program is no longer open."

-- "i think my library should keep Tutor.com is because what would happen if students have no clue at all and they end up failing their homework or tests just because thier parents and Tutor.com wasn't available to help them on thier homework. kids will be devestated!!!!!!!! teachers will blame them for not knowing how to do thier homework. i'v been using this website (Tutor.com) for about 2 whole years and it has helped me ever sense. please please keep this webstie."

-- "PLease please please please with a chairry on top help keep it open because they have always been helpful to me and my brother with homework and projects, so much more like quizzes and test studying. I was mad with myself for leaving hw blank with a ? mark because i dind't get it. But tutors put a bandaid on my many troubles and were so cool. Please and thank you!!!"

*****

We know that the economy will recover in due time, and most of the services that were cut will return, but in the meantime (and the meantime can be years), the pain is measured in many real children who are being denied the academic help and support they need to succeed in school.

If you, your organization, or someone you know, is in a position to underwrite the cost of these tutoring programs that public libraries and other educational organizations provide, please get in touch with me.

Only somewhat related to the post above: So I don't end on a completely depressing note, I thought I'd share this video created by WNYC's Radio Lab project (Moments by Will Hoffman) -- it's worth the couple minutes to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNVPalNZD_I.

Thanks for taking the time to read,

George Cigale, gcigale@tutor.com