In an effort to improve national mathematical achievement, the Department of Education has changed the regulations of the federal work-study program to allow for more student tutors. When the new rules take effect on July 1, 1999, the government will pay 100 percent of work-study costs for math tutors, according to administration officials. Under the current rules, the government pays three-quarters of the costs and the tutor’s college pays the final quarter. The new rules require that students tutor children in elementary school through grade nine. In addition, students involved in the program as tutors are required to work for the institution, a public agency or a nonprofit group. The regulations, which were published in the Federal Register of Oct. 1, 1998, documented the motivation for the rule change. The reasons include recent tests indicating that 36 percent of fourth graders and 38 percent of eighth graders do not posses fundamental math skills. According to the Third International Math and Science Study, U.S. eighth graders are below the international average in mathematical performance. “Student achievement in mathematics in the United States is not at an internationally competitive level,” according to the regulations in the Federal Register. This rule change builds on the “America Reads Challenge,” which is in its second year. This program’s goal is to make sure that students can read independently and passably by the conclusion of third grade. For the second year, tutors in this program are fully compensated by the government. Georgetown responded to the “America Reads Challenge” by joining D.C. Reads, a city-wide consortium that tutors District students. Last year, 225 Georgetown students were part of the campaign, and this year, about the same number should be involved, according to Dr. Sharon Morgenthaler of the Georgetown Volunteer and Public Services office. She said that under the current system, the tutors can only aid students requiring reading help, despite the constant need for math help in addition. organtheler said that she believes that math is “another form of literacy.” For this reason, she said that she could envision the new rules being used to incorporate a math tutoring component which could work closely with D.C. Reads. However, she said the decisions will be made by the program’s funding agency, the city-based Corporation for National Service. The new regulations will also help universities provide more community service opportunities for students. The Federal Work-Study program requires that five percent of all students at colleges and universities on work-study must be involved in activities that benefit low-income members of the community. The new rules offer institutions great flexibility in the implementation of the mathematical tutoring. The tutoring can take place during school, after school, on the weekends or during the summer. The changes are intended to help meet the National Education Goal that aims to increase high school graduation rates and encourage and facilitate education beyond high school.

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