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Teacher Advocates for Tutors to DISD Board


Dallas ISD Board Meeting from Thursday | Image by Dallas ISD Facebook Video

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A former teacher alleged that the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) failed to place a sufficient emphasis on tutoring, potentially contributing to some of the district’s academic shortcomings during the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.

Robert Ceccarelli claimed that tutors are the key to bringing up the test scores of some of the students in the district.

“I came here tonight because I’m very concerned about the school board’s interest in education,” Ceccarelli said during his three-minute remarks to the Board of Trustees. “We always hear about teacher instruction in principle. You don’t hear about tutoring at all. Never.”

DISD used federal taxpayer dollars from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund, a program enacted during COVID, to provide tutoring to students, according to a press release from the Council of Great City Schools.

Ceccarelli said he brings up tutoring at Board of Trustees meetings all the time, but they do not listen to him.

“Tutoring, tutoring, tutoring,” Ceccarelli said. “You need to bring it up like you do with the teachers and with the principals.”

Trustee Edwin Flores told The Dallas Express that providing tutors in a vacuum was very difficult.

“The district has a robust tutoring program,” Flores suggested. “There’s a state law that says if kids are behind, we have to provide 30 hours of tutoring.”

But he said when this translates to thousands of kids, it becomes hard to provide them with tutors considering there is a lack of available tutors.

“During the pandemic, when there’s thousands of thousands of kids, there’s just no capacity,” Flores said.

He said one idea is to pay for tutors from overseas, but that presents different problems, such as time differences.

“It’s hard to do,” Flores said. “How do you manage the quality?”

Jeremy Zahn, who spoke to the Board of Trustees while representing the Dallas Urban Indian Health Institute, said he wanted to advocate for a partnership with DISD after being awarded a grant to provide educational and STEM activities. But he also said he could help with tutors.

“Any student that’s deemed at risk by you guys, you could refer them to us,” Zahn said. “We have teachers and staff that are capable of that.”

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, widely known as the Nation’s Report Card, found that compared to 2019, average reading and math scores in 2022 nationally declined significantly at the fourth- and eighth-grade levels.

DISD has claimed fourth graders’ performances didn’t alter much from 2019, but eighth graders experienced a four-point decline in math scores.

In 2022, only 41% of students in DISD met grade-level standards on the STAAR tests, and overall the district received a “C” grade in student achievement.

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David Barnett
David Barnett
1 month ago

Why should citizens tax money go to “tutoring” ! Our tax money should go to the school system , not some tutor who in all likelyhood is a teacher in the system already. So as a tutor they can double dip on our tax money. That is total BS. Let parents pay for ADDITIONAL education services if they so choose.