What’s Happening with the Dropout Rate in the U.S.?

What’s Happening with the Dropout Rate in the U.S.?

Are fewer students graduating from high school now?

Across the United States, the number of students who graduate from high school 4 years after beginning 9th grade varies greatly from state to state. Even different counties within a state report different statistics. EdWeek reported that “At least 31 states saw declining graduation rates for the class of 2021 overall, more than twice as many as in the previous year.” The largest contributing factor to these lower graduation rates has been the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Role of the pandemic

Remote learning, COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines have led to more students missing school, falling behind, and even failing. Family illnesses and economic hardships have contributed to students leaving school early to start work. The teacher and school staff shortages have resulted in teachers having less time to work with students who need extra help.

In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, “kids have had a much longer time to be absent, fail classes and lose credits, have behavior problems,” said Robert Balfanz, the director of the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.

Graduation rate vs. Dropout rate

Although it seems counterintuitive, the graduation rate is not equal to the dropout rate. In Colorado, for example, the graduation rate in 2022 improved from 81.7% to 82.3% but the dropout rate increased to 2.2% over 1.8% the previous year. This is because dropout rates cover grades 9-12 while the graduation rate looks at how many students graduated after 4 years.

Why do high school students fail to graduate?

There are a number of contributing factors, including serious injury, illness, or death. Some drop out due to teen pregnancy. Other students end up incarcerated for criminal activity and a number of students just drop out when they reach the legal age to do so. There are also students who do attend school for four years but don’t have enough credits to graduate with their peers and need to continue for another semester or longer.

According to a recent report by WiseVoter, there are between 25% and 8% of high school students who do not graduate.

Here are the 2022 graduation rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia

West Virginia91.30%
New Jersey90.60%
New Hampshire88.40%
North Dakota88.30%
North Carolina86.50%
South Dakota84.10%
Rhode Island83.90%
New York82.80%
South Carolina81.10%
New Mexico75.10%
District of Columbia68.90%

Tutoring can help

TutorUp tutors are all classroom-experienced, certified teachers who can help your student and improve their grades. When a student is able to recover lost ground, turn failing grades into passing, and restore confidence, they are less likely to drop out of school. Find out how we can help your student. Fill out the form below…

Is Tutoring a Tax Deductible Expense?

Is Tutoring a Tax Deductible Expense?

UPDATED January 2023

In most cases, tutoring expenses are not a federal tax deductible item. There is an exception to this, for special education tutoring. Parents of children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADHD may deduct tutoring expenses for their special needs child from their federal income tax, according to the IRS. If the child has a medically diagnosed learning disability, specialized tutoring is considered a medical expense if recommended by a doctor, and may be deductible if your total medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. This info can be found under the IRS Special Education section under the medical expenses that can be deducted.

Some states allow tax deductions for K-12 education and/or homeschooling expenses. Check your individual state regulations to see if your tutoring expenses may fall into the category of a deductible expense on your state return.

Other Help for Tutoring Expenses

  • Many school districts have programs that assist with tutoring expenses for disadvantaged or low-income students. Contact your school’s financial aid office to see if they can connect you with financial aid resources for students in K-12. If your school doesn’t have a financial aid office, the school counseling office may be a good resource, or your school district administrator’s office can guide you.
  • The federal government has approved coronavirus relief money to fund “microgrants” for parents to use to hire tutors or teachers.
  • Some non-profits are funding tutoring programs for students who can’t afford private tutoring otherwise.
  • Some states provide vouchers that can help pay for private education.

Is Private Tutoring Worth the Cost?

One thing most everyone can agree on is that education has suffered a huge setback due to the COVID-19 quarantines and subsequent shutdown of schools and regular school programs as we knew them. Student grades have suffered, test scores on assessment and achievement tests have dropped, and the dropout rate has soared.

Private tutoring is not a free service, and as such is not the solution for every child. However, many parents are rearranging budgets and prioritizing tutoring as a necessary expense instead of a luxury. For many parents, being able to hire a private tutor for their child not only helps the child catch up and keep up with grade-level schoolwork, but it also takes the burden off of the parent who may be juggling a lot right now. Lots of parents who work from home full-time or part-time welcome even a few hours a week of professional academic help for their kids.

How Tutoring Helps

The Hechinger Report, a national non-profit reporting exclusively on education, recently published an in-depth look at how tutoring is helping students right now: The Simple Intervention that Could Lift Kids Out of the “Covid slide”. They report that “tutoring is more effective than other measures” and the challenge is to expand it to support more kids. Individualized tutoring gives a child the one-on-one attention they can’t get in the classroom or doing virtual school. The results are impressive.

TutorUp Tutoring Services

TutorUp is committed to providing the highest-quality tutoring services at a reasonable cost, while paying our teacher/tutors a rate that their professionalism deserves. All of our tutors are certified, background-checked, experienced teachers who are professionals devoted to helping children succeed academically, one child at a time.

Whether your child needs help keeping up with the daily/weekly assignments that so many schools are using instead of a typical in-person all day school experience, or they have fallen behind and need help catching up, a tutor could be the help they need.

To find out more, and get matched with the perfect tutor for your child, let’s get started!

Online Tutoring is NOT Remote Learning or Distance Learning

Online Tutoring is NOT Remote Learning or Distance Learning

Student Achievement Suffered Due to Remote Learning

In an article published this week by Education Week, reporter Mark Lieberman discusses the continued debate over the harms of extended remote learning. He cites a report published on November 28 from the American Enterprise Institute that “found that districts that stuck with full-time remote learning for longer in the first year of the pandemic saw larger declines in enrollment in subsequent school years” and that these findings showed clear signs that remote learning was among the factors that “diminished academic achievement for millions of students in the last couple of years.”

What Do They Mean by “Remote Learning?”

A definition is in order here, to make sure we all understand what they are talking about. Remote learning was the quickly constructed “solution” to schools that were closed to in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Initially it was thought this would be a short-term solution, but school districts, parents, teachers, politicians, and others were reluctant to send students back to school while there was an increase in infections and uncertainty about how it would affect students in the school environment. So “online school” lasted much longer than first anticipated. Starting in the final months of the 2020-2021 school year, many schools kept students at home for many more months, or even the entire school year of 2021-2022. Other schools implemented a hybrid approach, where students attended 2 or 3 days in person, with the remaining days remote.

Remote learning was not a universally built and deployed replacement for in-person school, and some things quickly became clear. Not all students had the technology or the internet access needed to participate. Even those who did had to share that computer and internet access with siblings and parents who were suddenly working from home. At a particular disadvantage were students in lower-income areas. This was a huge contributor to student dropout rates and low attendance, as recent research showed.

Teachers were also inexperienced with the new format and struggled to translate classroom activities to online gatherings. As teachers dropped out, the ones who were left found themselves with even greater responsibilities and challenges. In most cases, there was little to no training or preparation for this new reality, and teachers struggled to do their best.

If Remote Learning is Bad, What About Online Tutoring?

There can’t be many people who aren’t aware of how much time we all spend staring at screens. “Globally, people average 6 hours 58 minutes of screen time per day. The average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes looking at (an internet-connected) screen each day,” according to Digital Information World. Gen Z spends around 9 hours per day looking at a screen. For the average US teen, this breaks down to:

  • Watching TV/Videos – 3 hours 16 mins
  • Gaming – 1 hour 46 mins
  • Social Media – 1 hour 27 mins
  • Browsing Websites – 51 mins
  • Other – 29 mins
  • Video Chatting – 20 mins
  • E-reading – 15 mins
  • Content Creation – 14 mins

Additionally, 88 percent of parents report that their children between 0 and 11 years old are watching TV, 67 percent are using tablets, 60 percent are using smartphones, 44 percent are using a desktop/laptop, and 44 percent are gaming.

In light of this, what are the reasons to consider online tutoring for your child?

It’s One-to-One

Unlike remote learning, where there is one teacher for dozens of students, lecturing, assigning homework, and trying to keep students engaged, online tutoring is one tutor with one student, no distractions.

Content is Highly Personalized

The tutor is able to assess the student’s needs and tailor the subject, teaching method, and support to match that student’s needs.

Short, Variable-Length Sessions

Unlike remote learning, which required hours of sitting in front of a computer screen, online tutoring sessions are short and the time length is flexible, based on student age and attention-span and the difficulty of the subject matter.

Convenience Factor

Tutors and parents decide on a mutually convenient schedule. Families have a lot of activities going on, and the online format means you don’t have to drive somewhere. You choose the day/time that works best for your schedule, in the convenience of your own home.

Parents Have Total Visibility to Their Child’s Learning

Since sessions are online, parents can watch live or even record their child’s sessions, ensuring that they have complete visibility to what goes on in the tutoring session.

Parents Choose Their Child’s Tutor

In school, it’s the luck of the draw when it comes to which teachers your child spends the day with. With online tutoring, you review the available tutors and choose the one you think is the best match for your child. And you can always switch tutors if you find it’s not the best match after all.

How TutorUp Can Help

At TutorUp, all of our tutors are certified, classroom-experienced teachers. This means that they are not just subject matter experts in whichever subject your child needs help with. They are also trained educators who can assess a student’s needs and adapt their teaching approach to best help each student. They know how to evaluate the effectiveness of their tutoring and provide meaningful feedback to parents.

Contact us today so we can help your child succeed.

Speech Therapy or Tutoring?

Speech Therapy or Tutoring?

The answer is often “Both”

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) explains the importance of communication skills, “You need language skills to communicate. And you need to communicate to learn. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. The better your communication skills, the better you will do in school.”

If a child has difficulty with reading, writing, spelling or doing grade-level work, taking tests or understanding social cues, they may have a speech and language problem.

By the time a child enters school, it becomes obvious to parents and teachers if they are having problems with speech and language. Here are some common indicators for younger school-age children:

  • Has difficulty following directions
  • Has difficulty answering questions
  • Has difficulty staying on topic during conversations
  • Frequently misunderstands what is said to them
  • Has difficulty telling a story
  • Has a poor memory
  • Is difficult to understand
  • Doesn’t use the right sounds for words
  • Is the problem in one subject or across many subjects

First, Diagnose

Since public schools have Speech Language Pathologists, or SLPs who can conduct evaluations to help pinpoint a child’s problem, that is usually the first recommended step. The student’s problem may be due to hearing loss, or an attention deficit disorder. A dyslexic child can also display some of these symptoms. In order to provide the most helpful support, it’s important to identify the cause.

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) specifies the necessary components of an evaluation:

  • A variety of assessment tools and strategies should be used to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child;
  • No single measure or assessment should be used as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability and for determining an appropriate educational program for the child; and
  • Technically sound instruments should be used that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors.

SLPs play a central role in screening, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the development of literacy for children with dyslexia.

There are laws and regulations on the federal and state levels that impact the provision of services in the school setting, and the creation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 Plans.

How to Achieve the Best Outcome

Should it be determined that a child needs the support of a speech therapist, that help can often take place in the school setting. Of course, outside help is also available and certified Speech Language Pathologists whether in school or outside, have the training required to provide assessment, evaluation, testing, and treatment. SLPs coordinate with teachers and families to set goals, determine the best plan of treatment, and measure achievement.

Qualified tutors who are experienced and/or certified in working with students with learning disabilities can also provide great support and become a crucial part of the team contributing to student success. SLPs concentrate on the overall goals, treatment, and progress of a student with speech and language challenges. A tutor can provide subject-specific help and, working with the classroom curriculum, reinforce what is being taught in school. Often a child benefits from both types of support since speech therapy and tutoring are compatible and not mutually exclusive.

Tutors who are certified teachers are able to recognize when a child would benefit from an evaluation to see if speech therapy is indicated. And conversely, a speech therapist is able to see when a student needs subject-specific tutoring in order to stay on track in the classroom. The earlier intervention takes place, whether therapy or tutoring or both, the better the outcome for the student.

10 Trends in K-12 Education

10 Trends in K-12 Education

Surveys ask the educators

The results of two nationally representative surveys of educators were recently reported in the Education Week special report “Big Ideas 2022: 10 Broad Trends in K-12 Education”. In all, 1,897 educators responded to the first survey, and 1,099 educators participated in the second survey. We recap the survey results below.

You can download the full report here.

Questions about Equity and Equality

  • Educators were asked to define the word “equality” vs. the word “equity” in K-12 education. 78% responded that “equality is about giving all students the same opportunities; equity is about outcomes and giving some students, who have tended to have lower performance or higher needs, additional resources.” 13% of educators said that the “concepts are similar, but ‘equity’ has become controversial/weaponized.”
  • When asked what their views are of equity and equality in K-12 education are, 76% responded that they “support equity and equality, even though I define both in different ways.” 12% said they “support equality but not equity” and 4% said they “support equity but not equality.”
  • Responding to a question about their district policy on equality/equity, 52% said they “have formally committed to both equity and equality”, 15% said they “have formally committed to equity but not to equality”, 9% said they have “formally committed to equality but not to equity”, and 24% said their district has “not formally committed to either equity or equality.”

Questions about No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Acts

  • Inquiring about the federal No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Acts, 26% of educators surveyed felt that “there was nothing positive about these laws”. 23% felt that a positive outcome was that there is “additional Title I and other funding.” 21% felt that it was good that there is a “requirement to look at disaggregated data to see how student groups performed.” 15% felt that the “requirements to improve/intervene in schools or with student groups with low performance” was a positive outcome of these acts.
  • Nearly all educators surveyed (97%) felt that there was some type of negative effect from the NCLB and ESSA acts. 38% felt the most negative outcome was the mandated annual testing in reading and math, 29% felt the most negative outcome was the “consequences for schools or districts with low performance.”

Questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • When asked if the pandemic transformed public K-12 education, 94% of educators surveyed agreed that COVID-19 has had an impact. 52% said “Yes-it’s been a major transformation”, while 43% said “I’d describe it as more of a minor change than a transformation”, and 6% of educators didn’t feel that the pandemic had transformed public K-12 education at all.
  • Educators were asked to list all impacts of the coronavirus pandemic that they think will have a lasting positive impact on education a decade from now. The majority of educators, 61%, said that the “added flexibility of moving at least some meetings/gatherings online” would be the most lasting positive impact. 57% said that “more attention given to student mental health” would be one of the most lasting positive impacts, 54% felt that “better integration of technology” was a lasting positive, and 54% felt that the “ability to offer remote learning when necessary” was a lasting positive. Others included more and better technology, more attention given to staff mental health, improved cleaning protocols, better ventilation/HVAC systems, and several other factors would be a lasting positive.
  • When asked which pandemic impact they would MOST like to see in their district or school in ten years was, 21% said “more attention given to student mental health”, 20% said “less focus on standardized testing”, 11% said “more attention given to staff mental health”, 11% said they hoped that “more wraparound services for student well-being” would be a lasting impact, 16% hoped for more flexibility to be a permanent change, and 9% want to see more/better technology and integration of technology.

Questions about transformation and change in K-12 education

  • When asked for their opinion on what is the biggest obstacle preventing major transformations in K-12 education, 42% of educators said that local, state or federal officials or their policies are the biggest obstacles to change. 23% said that funding levels are the biggest obstacle. 19% responded that either parents, administrators, teachers, or students themselves were the biggest obstacle.
  • In response to the question about what they believe is the biggest enabler of change/transformation in K-12 education, 35% pointed to teachers as the most significant change agent. 13% think funding levels are the key to major change, and 10% think administrators have the largest impact.