By Daniel Stefanski |
This week, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced that he was “making $40 million available to parents of elementary grade students to pay for free tutoring in reading, writing and math beginning October 2.”
According to the release sent out from the Arizona Department of Education, the funding source for these re-allocated dollars originates from a federal government 2021 program, which allowed the previous Superintendent to distribute funds earmarked to help “overcome pandemic-related learning loss” to several organizations around the state. In August, Horne’s administration asked these organizations “to provide evidence of the academic impact of their work, and those who could not show reasonable impact for the money had their contracts cancelled or reduced.”
Parents will have options of public school teachers or private tutoring companies to assist with their children’s educational development under this program. The Department projected the $40 million would cover approximately 1.3 million hours of tutoring.
The schools chief explained his action, saying, “My first priority as Superintendent is to raise academic outcomes, therefore I am making $40 million available so parents whose children did not test as proficient can get free tutoring for students in first through eighth grades.”
Superintendent Horne is confident that his program will achieve results for Arizona children, promising, “If they cannot show increased academic outcomes, I will, with this massive tutoring program.”
Horne also discussed the impact this stream of funding would have on teachers who participated in this reimagined program. He said, “Public school teachers who tutor will be paid $30 an hour and will earn a $200 stipend for each student who shows a one-half year gain from the tutoring. A teacher who tutors the maximum amount would earn an extra approximately $8,000. I believe teachers deserve more pay, which is why I supported Rep. Matt Gress’s recent bill for a $10,000 raise. I was shocked to see that the Governor and teachers’ union opposed it. If they won’t help teachers get more money, I will.”
More details are expected to become available for this new program on September 15. Members of the public and interested parties can visit the Arizona Department of Education’s website to learn more after that date.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.