(The Center Square) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced a tutoring program with hopes to combat the negative consequences of learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $40 million program intended to pay public school teachers an additional $30 an hour if they take part in the program starting Oct. 2. According to a news release, private tutoring companies will also be allowed to take part.
“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,” Horne said in a statement.
“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,” he continued.
Federal funding intended to help with learning loss is the source of the $40 million price tag, but it stems from contracts with organizations that were “canceled or reduced” by the state Department of Education for not performing well enough.
Many school districts in Arizona and nationwide switched to online or modified learning during the height of the pandemic. A 2022 report from the Helios Education Foundation, ADOE, and the Arizona State Board of Education showed that proficiency in math and English dropped between the fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2021, hitting lower grades harder comparatively. (source: page 3 of the report)
An early effort to combat learning was the AZ OnTrack Summer Camp created under the Ducey administration in March 2022, which partnered with various organizations in the state. Gov. Katie Hobbs replaced it with a grant program in March, which required an application process.