Apr 15, 2022 - Technology

Tutoring companies boom

Illustration of a computer with a chalkboard screen featuring dollar signs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tutoring companies are swarming to grab some of the tens of billions of federal dollars doled out to America's schools meant to help kids to catch up after pandemic-related setbacks.

Why it matters: Many of these companies have unproven methods and offer online tutoring — the same type of learning that left kids behind in the thick of the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What's happening: The government allotted $122 billion of COVID relief money for schools to address the stunning learning loss. They have to use the cash before it expires in 2024.

  • 1 in 3 kindergarten through second-grade students are missing reading benchmarks.
  • And economists say the U.S. could take up to a $28 trillion hit in the long run as a result of closed schools and virtual instruction.

That's turned online tutoring into a booming business, attracting venture capital dollars and 8-figure contracts with school districts around the country.

But, but, but: These companies sprung up during the pandemic, so their methods aren't tried and true.

  • Some do video tutoring, but many others just teach over chat, helping multiple students at once. And some require instructors to have teaching licenses, while others hire tutors in India for cheap, per the WSJ.

What to watch: The pandemic-era influx of cash into EdTech could be a boon for students, revolutionizing learning the way new tech and products have changed the way we work.

  • But these companies will have to stick to the same high standards of tutoring that have been proven to work: one-on-one coaching and from well-trained instructors.
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