Tutors: Are They Necessary?

Tutors: Are They Necessary?

Sarah Silverman

This year, the Ramaz administration along with the English and History departments have created a new requirement regarding a controversial and long-debated topic: tutors. Unlike in previous years, students must disclose the names of their tutors to their respective teachers. This policy makes complete sense to me. Students who have help may lean on their tutor’s capabilities and strengths more than is allowed. And with the school requiring knowledge of what support a child gets out of school, it may help equal the playing field for those without additional help.

There are many reasons why a student may have outside support. Those with learning disabilities or in need of remedial lessons may need further guidance to fully understand what is going on in class. 

As a person with dyslexia, I have had my fair share of tutors. They have all been through the Board of Education, and therefore were fully known to the school. Board of Education tutors, and Ramaz support systems, such as learning center aid and clinics, are not what this new policy is targeting. It is highlighting the well-known but seldom talked about notion that many students, who do not actually require help, pay tutors to do their work for them. This idea becomes especially true in the English and History departments, where students submit graded papers. Most of these are done at home, where a child with a tutor can get additional help to improve their writing. 

If this help is not truly needed, it can offer an unfair advantage to a student whose skills would be well off without the aid. For this type of student, a tutor can turn their true grade of a B+ into an A. This, in turn, can cause grade inflation and lead a teacher to not know the full capabilities of their student. This may be one of the reasons many teachers have turned to in-class essays as a form of gauging writing abilities. 

Parents may argue that it is in their full right to hire a tutor for their child. If they say they need help, so be it. This is why the administration has argued that disclosure is necessary. You are allowed to hire a tutor, but we will know about it and judge the student accordingly. 

This new policy will incentivize students and their parents to only hire an out-of-school tutor if it is necessary. Privacy is important, and even if a child may be embarrassed by their teacher knowing about their outside aid, equalizing the playing field for all is essential.