Huge Need, Big Shortage in Minn. Reading, Math Tutors
When Mai Lo's six year-old son finished his first year with a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor, the St. Paul mother could not believe how much he had blossomed.
"It's wonderful. It's beautiful to see your child be more confident," she said during an interview Friday.
The Reading Corps program, along with a companion Math Corps, reached more than 20,000 Minnesota children last year, according to administrators. But the need this year is expected to soar, and the programs are struggling to recruit enough tutors.
"There's definitely a need," explained Anna Peters, recruitment and outreach manager for the twin programs, which are operated under the AmeriCorps umbrella.
More than one in five Minnesota third graders, 21.6%, do not read at grade level, according to 2011 state test scores, and nearly half of eighth graders, 47.4%, are not proficient in math.
Both programs need to attract an estimated 1,268 tutors for the upcoming school year, more than they've ever recruited; so far the ranks are about 100 short, with training for new tutors set to begin Aug. 9 - less than two weeks away.
"The need is there and we have been fortunate enough to grow the program every year and place more tutors every year in more schools around the state to reach more kids that need our help," Peters said.
The programs are funded with $16.4 million in federal money and $4.1 million in state funds. Full-time tutors earn a $480 stipend every two weeks and a $5,550 educational award after their 11-month service.
Watch our story above to hear from first-year and returning tutors.
Click here to learn more and to apply for the Minnesota Reading Corps and Math Corps programs.