Cardona’s Tutoring Charge, 1 Year Later: Some Progress, but Obstacles Remain

The 74

One year ago, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a charge to schools still reeling from months of remote instruction during the pandemic: Students who fell behind should receive at least 90 minutes of tutoring each week.

His speech on Jan. 27, 2022, “likely produced a lot of head-nodding,” said Susan Enfield, superintendent of the Washoe County district in Nevada, who caught the live stream that day. Even then, she knew it would be a hard prescription to fill. Students needed one-on-one or small group attention, but there weren’t enough tutors to go around.

“The need was so vast,” she said.


Rebuilding students’ self-esteem requires ongoing support from the same tutor, said Susanna Loeb, an education researcher at Stanford University. Those relationships, she said, allow students to take risks and work until they understand the material.

In the year since Cardona’s address, she said she’s seen real improvement in some district’s ability “to actually pull off harder, more intensive support for students.”

That’s partly due to her previous work at Brown University on the National Student Support Accelerator. The center summarizes important research about high-dosage tutoring — likely the inspiration, Loeb said, for Cardona’s prescription for “30 minutes per day, three days a week, with a well-trained tutor.”

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