Monday, April 25, 2011

SAT Tutoring In Full Swing, Can You Help?

In the midst of what seems to be the most radical defunding of public education in the history of Georgia, Dell MacLean suggested that Student Career Alternatives Program consider providing free SAT tutoring classes to students that couldn't afford the typical $500 SAT courses.

When everyone supported the idea Dell went beyond simply suggesting it and organized it. For the past few months we've been provided free SAT tutoring sessions to a dozen high school students from around the metro area. This past Saturday students participated in our first mock SAT test. While it's clear that all of the students that come out for our tutoring sessions are extremely bright, the SAT test has proven to be a real challenge. Not one student cracked a 1200 score.

For those of you that don't know 1200 is the new score requirement for eligibility for the HOPE scholarship. Now we already know that the SAT test is culturally bias, we know that only 2.7 percent of African Americans and 5.7 percent of Mexican Americans score a 1200 on the SAT test(as compared to 21.5 percent of whites).

Clearly the public education system in our state is, by design, more unjust than it's been in decades.

What can we do about it?

We obviously can't provide free SAT tutoring to everyone in the state that can't afford it. It's taken a ton of work just to start with a dozen. What we need is real reforms, a real revolution of values, a shift in spending priorities. Providing free SAT tutoring sessions to Atlanta youth might seem like such a drop in the bucket, but it means so much more to the students and parents that are receiving the sessions.

The direct services we've been providing to students and parents has also been another opportunity to start conversations with folks in the community about budget priorities. It's been, at times, a chance to not only share a vision of a more just education system but to share a vision on ways to get there.

We need help.

Right now we're in need of human and financial resources to keep the classes going. We need folks that are willing and able to provide SAT tutoring once a week. We also could really use some help in purchasing material for the session. Services like these are only possible if folks from the community step up and help us make them happen. Will you help us?

Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee

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