Abby Ellin has a fascinating article in the New York Times: Tutors Take on Duties of Therapists and Personal Assistants

Ellin writes how some affluent Manhattan and Brooklyn families now hire tutors not only to help students with homework and test prep, but also with family and personal issues.  Shockingly, she features a number of college students who still require tutors to help them get through homework and adjustment to college life.

As I noted in a 2010 New York Times article,

“The end goal is you don’t want a child who is dependent and scared and can’t do anything” by himself or herself, Ms. Glickman said. “A good homework helper is one who teaches a child so that they no longer need a homework helper.”

Something is really wrong if students go to college and still need to take their tutors with them.  What will come next?  Professionals who require tutors to complete job assignments?

The tutoring and more generally private education industries are exploding, fueled by rising parental anxiety in an age when schools have increased their expectations of students, often to unrealistic levels.  Many businesspeople have entered the field, offering services that are not in students’ and families’ best interests.  For example, in New York City and elsewhere:

  • Homework helping for college students
  • Cram schools that rob kids of their childhoods
  • Private school kindergarten interview prep

Too many times I have seen parents fall for marketing pitches without really thinking through what is best for their children’s development.   In my work as a NYC private school consultant and in my referrals to tutors, I always strive to act as ethically as I can, by advising parents on reasonable, viable courses of action that maximize kids’ chances for success as well as their happiness and competence.