On Election Day, residents of Denver CO voted to increase their taxes. For what?
The mill levy will dedicate $15 million to instructional support, including hiring tutors for students needing intensive intervention; $11 million for enrichment programs such as music, art and physical education; and $13 million for early-childhood education.
Ah! The Match Corps idea continues to spread. Recall: As part of an effort to turnaround 9 failing schools in Houston, our team at Match was recruited to design and launch a high dosage tutoring effort…200+ full-time math tutors that became known as Apollo Math Tutors. Results were hug, and economist Roland Fryer, who led the overall turnaround effort, wrote a paper about it.
Roland and his colleague Matt Spengler then brought the same idea to Denver. Last year their kids also had amazing achievement gains associated with the high-dosage math tutoring. So $10 million or so will be spent on scaling the program to more kids.
People ask us all the time: Isn’t tutoring expensive? Not if you consider Return On Investment.
Most K-12 interventions don’t even have a large enough effect to bother calculating ROI. But if you can put a big ol’ effect size in the numerator (i.e., how much kids actually learn measured in test score growth, or the “return”), it can rationalize a fairly large number in the denominator (“investment”).
A side benefit is that teachers love having all these tutors around. If you’ve ever tried to teach algebra to a group of 25 kids who don’t know how to multiply, you can understand why math teachers appreciate having a cavalry to help…it becomes much more plausible to “Do your job” if you’re not expected to concurrently remediate every single kid with massive deficits by yourself.
Our version of high-dosage math tutoring has now flourished in Boston, Houston, Denver.
Congrats to Superintendent Tom Boasberg and the kids and math teachers in Denver…