It is imperative that we address the systemic disparities faced by Black students within the education system. These challenges, stemming from historical and ongoing inequities, can hinder academic progress and limit future opportunities. Thus, at Top Tutors for Us we believe the presence of Black tutors is essential for addressing these issues and empowering Black students to reach their full potential. By connecting Black students with tutors who understand their experiences firsthand, we create an environment where students feel understood, supported, and motivated to excel. Our tutors can relate, inspire, and provide tailored instruction that sets us apart.
According to the Department of Education, 84% of Black students lack proficiency in math and 85% lack proficiency in reading. In addition, poverty rates among Black students are disproportionately high. The adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for Black students is below the U.S. average, indicating the need for continued efforts to improve graduation outcomes. Furthermore, the lack of representation of Black teachers and administrators in schools exacerbates the problem. In the 2017-2018 academic year, only 7% of public school teachers and 11% of public school principals were Black, despite more than 15% of Black students attending public schools. As a result, we actively recruit and collaborate with our tutors to create opportunities for them to transition into full-time teaching roles through our partnership with St. Louis public schools. These connections enable us to increase the representation of Black educators in schools.
Research has consistently shown that students respond positively and benefit academically when taught by teachers who share their racial or cultural background. The presence of Black tutors can contribute to better academic outcomes and overall student success. Studies, such as the Jeffrey Penney study in 2017 on racial interaction effects and student achievement, emphasize the importance of same-race teacher-student pairings and the impact of minority teachers as role models. Early exposure to same-race teachers has been found to lead to lasting benefits, including improvements in test scores. Specifically, same-race teacher-student pairings result in approximately 4 percentile point improvements in test scores across subjects.
At Top Tutors for Us, we have developed a unique solution to address these challenges by connecting Black primary school students to Black college tutors with high credentials. Our tutors are carefully selected based on their academic achievements and leadership potential, and they receive training and support to ensure they can provide the best possible guidance and mentorship to our students. Top Tutors for Us goes beyond academic skills by offering specialized pairings that align with students’ career aspirations. By matching students with tutors from relevant fields, such as nursing students with tutors who have a pre-med background or students interested in math with tutors from engineering fields, we provide valuable insights and guidance for students pursuing specific career paths. This personalized approach enhances their understanding of their chosen fields and opens doors to exciting possibilities. Through our program, we have witnessed firsthand the positive impact of connecting Black students with Black tutors. The sense of familiarity and support fosters increased motivation in the classroom, leading to improved focus and academic performance. Furthermore, the personal connection goes beyond subject material, offering hope and inspiration to our students. Black tutors, who have achieved success in their own educational journeys, serve as relatable role models. They can share their experiences, provide guidance on overcoming obstacles, and inspire students to pursue higher education and long-term goals.