Have you heard about the “COVID slide”? Like the more well-known “summer slide," when students lose academic ground while away from school, it refers to educational losses students are experiencing due to the pandemic and disruptions to schooling.
If you are a parent of a student in grades K-12, you are probably feeling at least some anxiety about the current school year. Whether your children are back in their school building full time (with social distancing and other safety measures in place), in a hybrid attendance model or completely virtual, I think we can agree it’s not the school experience kids have been used to. It’s also likely putting extra pressure on you as a parent to manage schooling, child care and working differently than you have before.
We at the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund, the national charity for and by federal employees, are worried about how the pandemic is affecting federal workers and their children. We applaud agencies that are offering maximum schedule and leave flexibilities to working parents, but we also know navigating work and school is still a challenge for many families. Most children are now in the second quarter of the 2020-21 school year, and we’ve heard many could use some extra help. Teachers are not always as available for one-on-one assistance as they had been, and parents sometimes lack available time and subject knowledge to assist.
A recent Brookings Institution article found that “tutoring is remarkably effective at helping students learn, with over 80% of the 96 included studies reporting statistically significant effects…In other words, with the help of tutoring, a student at the 50th percentile would improve to the 66th percentile. In the field of K-12 education research where there is little agreement on what works, these findings are remarkable not only for their magnitude but also for their consistency. The evidence is clear that tutoring can reliably help students catch up.”
FEEA wants to help reduce parental stress and prevent or reverse potential learning losses for their children. This is why we have just started a partnership with Tutor.com to provide free one-on-one online help from professional tutors in nearly all K-12 subjects to children of federal employees. We are currently enrolling employees who earn under $100,000 per year, but we might increase that threshold if funding permits in the future. You can learn more and sign up here. We are very grateful to the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program for sponsoring the launch of this program.
So whether you have a first grader who needs help with reading, a high schooler who needs guidance on AP Chemistry, or you would like some one-on-one parent coaching on how to help your child improve their study techniques, know that you are not alone. In October 2020, Tutor.com delivered 49% more tutoring sessions than in October 2019. A lot of people are seeking extra help in the current environment.
We encourage you to sign up for the program now so you will have your login whenever you need it, including on a Sunday afternoon when your child lets you know they need extra help to prepare for a test or finish a project due Monday (applications are processed by FEEA on weekdays). We also encourage you to spread the word to your colleagues so they can also get the help their families may need.
We can get through this together.