Learned By Me Blog

This blog contains musings and announcements from the Learned By Me Team. Thanks for reading!

October 14, 2013 at 9:09am

Cheaper and More Effective: How We Want to Help Schools


Last week, The New York Times published an Op-Ed entitled “Fed Up With Fund-Raising for My Kids’ School” by Alane Salierno Mason where she explains the massive fundraising efforts she and other parents have to make in order to make sure their kids get a complete, first-rate education. This includes raising money to finance art in the schools, foreign language instruction for middle school students, professional developments programs for teachers and basic literacy programs.

In the piece, Ms. Mason explains the extent of school budget cuts:

But the cuts have gone beyond fat, beyond muscle, and are cutting into bone — the bones that support the city’s future. I’m out of fund-raising ideas. The city’s leaders should do what it takes — whatever it takes — to provide enough money for well-rounded educations in every public school.”

Given our position as a Spanish tutoring service, we are keenly aware of many of the gaps in school budgets and as a result, the services offered these days. We even sometimes benefit, as parents will utilize us as a way to fill in those gaps. For example, a student’s middle school stops providing Spanish instruction and one of our tutors gets hired to keep the student learning until they reach high school.

However, we want to part of the solution on a school wide basis. As a new startup, we have huge advantages in being able to create educational experiences from the ground up without the legacy obligations of incumbent standards, staff, and the traditions of classroom learning.  The first manifestation of this type of solution is our current product where we have leveraged new technology (reliable free one-on-one video chat over the internet) and a previously unavailable base of customers (Spanish teachers in the developing world) to offer one-on-one Spanish tutoring at 1/5 of the cost of traditional Spanish tutors. But we are also working and testing solutions that are more easily implementable in the schools.  For example, one of our tutors works with a small group of students for only a few dollars per student per class effectively replacing the elementary school Spanish teacher in schools that can’t afford them. To us, improving education within schools by offering lower cost solutions seems like a pragmatic solution.

We’ll announce more as these solutions get more refined and ready for open public use, but if you are a parent or school district looking for solutions about how to offer or obtain top quality language instruction, send us an email with your situation. We would be excited to try to help!