Fine dining, nightclubs galore, and a wealth of wondrous activities await the upper-middle-class and above residents of Detroit. The ones who dare not venture into where the rest of the city lives, works, and plays. The ones with no desire to witness the daily violence and corruptness that goes on just around the corner from the relative safety of their sheltered world. They know it’s there but “out of sight out of mind” is their collective motto.
Since monkey-see-monkey-do is where children pick up habits, be they wrong or right, and most kids in the lesser income parts of Detroit are no strangers to violence in the streets and/or their homes, they bring what they’ve learned to school.
Gang fights and violence aren’t strangers to school hallways in certain areas of town where crime peaks. Laela Bullock was a student at one such school. She knew every survival trick in the book which included pretending like school meant nothing to her. When in Rome… Or, Detroit…
Like some of the other kids who wouldn’t have minded learning a few legit things, Leila’s education suffered until along came a one-on-one tutor to rescue her. She didn’t have to put on airs or go into defense mode. All she had to do was learn what she’d missed out on, without interruption.
For the first time ever, Laela’s reading level has surpassed her grade level and she’s right on schedule to graduate high school on time. All her mother Alicia Bullock could say was, “I’m so proud.” She’s stunned by the difference it’s made.
Laela hasn’t been the only Detroit student to show vast improvement. Detroit has been socking a lot of its pandemic relief money into its school system by hiring private tutors, and in ways it all ties in.
When online learning was taking place during the pandemic, there was an improvement in academics, but what was lacking was the ability of students to interact with teachers. One-on-one tutors for students who were lagging behind, even once they returned to their classrooms, became the answer.
Detroit School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said with a huge sigh of relief, “This is the first time … I actually feel we have equitable funding,” but then added, “Unfortunately, it had to come during a pandemic.”
Here’s how terrible Detroit schools have become. Just last year, a standardization test was given to eighth-graders throughout the city. Over 94% of the students scored well below the U.S. average in math.
High-poverty areas throughout the U.S. received the most amounts of pandemic relief money, with Detroit coming in at number one. It’s enough for the city to allot $25,000 per public school student.
Because obviously, not every kid in town is falling behind in every single subject, the money is going to last quite a while. It’ll at least remain solvent long enough to determine the outcome of the one-on-one tutor scenario after it’s offered to a wider spectrum of students who may or may not take the extra learning seriously.
But it’s a great place to start now that Detroit has the funds to do it. Even if by off chance it doesn’t work out, they won’t have lost a whole lot by at least giving it a chance.