Online Tutoring - The Great Equalizer
Are expensive, private home tutors just another way for wealthy families to buy academic success and opportunity for their kids? Many think so. Poor families are clearly at a disadvantage in this regard, since a good private tutor gives tips, techniques, and lots of extra practice to the students whose parents are lucky enough to afford one.
The internet being the great equalizer that it is, it comes as no surprise that online tutoring is helping to close the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" when it comes to academic success. There are a few websites, like 24HourAnswers.com that offer high-quality online tutoring for such low fees that anyone can afford it. And, when these online tutoring sessions become a regular part of a student's educational experience, competence in classroom curriculums becomes the norm. From the moment a student starts participating in regular online sessions, doors begin to open, and by the time graduation day rolls around, the long-term improvement in grades has significantly widened the choices that students have for college or employment. The trick is to find the right kind of online service (see Online Tutoring Is Good - As Long As It Mimics Offline Tutoring).
In an ideal world, all students should have equal educational training and then compete against each other in a true meritocracy. We know this has never been the case, the most blatant example being the complete lack of educational facilities, teachers, and academic support in the most severe poverty-stricken areas of the world. In many such places, children don't go to school at all, and it becomes absurd to even contemplate these children competing on a level playing field. The advent of quality online tutoring at bargain-basement prices is beginning to change all that, and in fact may become one of the most profound and longest-lasting legacies of the internet.
Lowell Parker, Ph.D.
Empire State College