The National Education Project, Inc.

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Purpose of The National Literacy Program


The National Education Project, Inc., a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit corporation, supports two major national initiatives:

1. The Bill of Rights Day Celebration on each year on December 15 (for complete description, please click Home); and

2. The National Literacy Program.

Description:

I Purpose and History of the National Literacy Program

II Cost Efficiencies

III The National Literacy Program's 10 Basic Operational Documents

IV Course Description - A Three-credit, Elective Course

1. The Five Course Requirements

2. Undergraduates Eligible to Enroll in These Courses

3. Why the Undergraduates Do Tutoring

4. Training for the Tutors

5. Guidelines for the Tutors

V What the Colleges Do

1. Colleges and Universities Eligible to Participate

2. Five-year, $50,000 Grants to the Colleges

3. A College May Receive More than One $50,000 Grant at the Same Time

4. Starting the Course

VI What the College Professors Do

VII What the Elementary School Principals Do

VIII What the Elementary School Classroom Teachers Do

IX Results of the Tutoring in One Elementary School

1. Written Report at the End of Each Semester

a. Report of Hours of Tutoring Produced by the Undergraduates

b. Written Evaluations of the Effectiveness of the Tutors by Classroom Teachers

2. Written Report at the End of the Five-Year Grant Period

X Raising Reading and Math Scores Across an Entire City -- 20 Elementary Schools

XI The National Literacy Program's 50-City Initiative

XII The Creation of Vast New Wealth for Individual Americans and for the Nation


I. Purpose and History of the National Literacy Program


The National Literacy Program has two main purposes:

1. To encourage colleges and universities across the country to offer courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences that combine experience and theory at the same time and provide undergraduates with a more realistic education than they can get through courses that provide classroom theory alone.

In a word, these courses are designed to inject experience into the search for Truth.

2. To provide reliable and effective tutors on a massive scale to children who must have this help if they are to master the basic literacy skills that are required for employment in a technological economy.

In these courses, which are offered in departments such as Sociology, Economics, Philosophy, and Elementary Education, undergraduates obtain real-world experience by working as tutors six hours each week of the semester in elementary schools that are selected for their ability to provide a graphic illustration of the academic discipline as it exists in the real world.

The undergraduates also are required to meet in weekly seminars with their supervising professor. In these seminars, the students' experience in the community is matched against the theories of the academic discipline

In this way, the undergraduates get a mix of experience and theory at the same time, and a greater understanding of the academic discipline than they can get in the college classroom alone.

This, of course, is not very new. Courses that combine experience and theory at the same time have been considered to be the highest form of learning in Western culture since the time of Galileo.

In addition to their educational merit, however, these courses also have the following benefits for undergraduates:

1. These courses provide undergraduates with work experience in the real world, the sort of experience that will help them to make more knowledgeable and realistic decisions regarding their college major and career.

2. It is this same work experience that will help the undergraduates to get a job upon graduation, since they will be able to show employers a clear record of achievement at something genuinely important; that is, teaching someone to read.

3. And, not least, these courses permit undergraduates to learn the "old virtues" of duty, obligation, and compassion.

Here is an example of how this course works: Undergraduates who register for this course in Economics would tutor in an inner-city elementary school where they would see poverty firsthand. It is then the role of the Economics professor in the weekly seminars to examine poverty in modern society, and to describe, for example, how the major theories and authors in the field of Economics attempt to explain the existence of poverty in the richest nation in history, and why it is that poverty, against our best efforts for so many years, continues to exist.

This was the reasoning behind the original program begun by Mr. Norman Manasa, who was an undergraduate at the University of Miami when he first conceived of this program in the fall of 1968. (Mr. Manasa is also the founder and Director of The National Education Project, Inc.) The program at the University of Miami, which registered its first undergraduates in the fall of 1969, remained in operation until 1973.

During that time, over 1,000 undergraduates enrolled in these courses, which were offered by a number of academic departments,.

During the late 1980's and the early 1990's, the National Education Project sponsored similar programs in 12 colleges and universities from New York to California. To see the effectiveness of the tutors in these communities, please click on the following:

1. Evaluations by the Classroom Teachers

2. Evaluations by Three Elementary School Principals

3. Evaluation by a College Academic Dean

4. Letter from a Grateful Mother


II. Cost Efficiencies of the National Literacy Program

Although the National Education Project is primarily an academic program for undergraduates, it is also designed to transfer to the illiterate poor the power to create wealth in the technological age; that is to say, reading, writing, and mathematics.

For this reason, the undergraduates work as tutors, and only as tutors, for the entire semester. They are not permitted to engage in any other activity.

The National Literacy Program is designed to use the resources that already exist in nearly every community in the nation; that is, undergraduates tutoring in established elementary schools under the direct supervision of classroom teachers.

As a result, in terms of cost, simplicity of operation, and effectiveness, the National Literacy Program has the following advantages:

1. There are no expenditures for buildings or books. The undergraduates are permitted to work only in existing schools, and they use the books and instructional materials already in the classroom.

2. The undergraduates work as tutors in the old, classical sense of the term, and they are required to work on a 1:1 or a 1:2 ratio, or in very small groups. Moreover, and as a fundamental matter, the undergraduates:

a. Are not permitted to work with the class as one large group;

b. Do not grade papers for the classroom teacher;

c. Do not monitor the cafeteria at lunchtime;

d. Do not supervise recess; and

e. Do not do office work for the school principal.

3. The undergraduates work as tutors at all times under the direct supervision of classroom teachers. Note, also, that the tutors are never left alone with the children.

4. Each undergraduate in this Project is required to produce a minimum of 50 hours of tutoring per semester; that is, five hours of tutoring per week x the 10 weeks in a semester.

During the five-year grant period, the tutors from one course will produce a total of 7,250 hours of tutoring; that is, 145 under-graduates x 50 hours of tutoring produced by each undergraduate.

5. The undergraduates work during the regular school day and they are required to tutor on a regular schedule for the entire semester (for example, Monday and Wednesday mornings, from 9:00 to 11:30).

6. The undergraduates are required to sign-in and sign-out for each tutoring session in a book that is kept in the principal's office. There are no excused absences.

7. Because the tutoring is done as part of a college course, the undergraduates are reliable, accountable on a daily basis, and remarkably effective.

8. At the end of each semester, the classroom teachers provide the college faculty member with the Classroom Teacher's One-Page, End-of-Semester Evaluation Form, which measures the advances of the children in reading, writing, and mathematics during the previous semester.

The college faculty member, in turn, provides copies of these evaluations to the National Education Program at the end of each semester; that is, one evaluation form for each undergraduate enrolled in the course.

9. Twice each semester (at mid-semester, and at the end of the semester), the college faculty member provides the National Education Project with a one-page report showing the precise number of hours of tutoring produced by the undergraduates.

10. Since the undergraduates pay tuition to take these courses, each college, if it chooses to do so, will be able to offer the course after the Program's five-year, $50,000 "start-up" grant ends, since the course in the sixth year would be funded by the tuition of the undergraduates who enroll in the sixth year, the course in the seventh year would be funded by the tuition of the undergraduates who enroll in the seventh year, and so forth.

11. The undergraduates are not paid to do the tutoring.

12. There is no cost whatsoever to the elementary schools or to the children who are tutored by the undergraduates.


III. The National Literacy Program's 10 Basic Operational Documents

The remarkable results that have been produced by the tutors from this Program across the country came about as a direct result of a systematic procedure that is embodied in the 10 Basic Operational Documents developed by the National Literacy Program.

These documents are listed below:

1. The Project's Standard Five-Year Contract with the Colleges

2. The Standard Agreement between the College and the Elementary School, signed by both parties

3. Guidelines for the Classroom Teacher

4. Guidelines for the College Faculty Member

5. Guidelines for the Undergraduate

6. Midterm Report of Hours of Tutoring Produced (One-Page)

7. Outline for the End-of-Semester Report by the College Faculty Member

8. End-of-Semester Report of Hours of Tutoring Produced (One-Page)

9. The Classroom Teacher's One-Page, End-of-Semester Evaluation Form

10. Final Report of Hours of Tutoring Produced at End of the Five-Year Grant (One-Page)


IV. Course Description - A Three-Credit Elective Course

1. The Five Course Requirements

These courses, which the undergraduates take as three-credit electives, have five requirements. To receive credit for the course, the undergraduates are required to:

a. Tutor five hours each week of the semester on a regular schedule (e.g., Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:00 to 11:30).

Each undergraduate is required to produce a minimum of 50 hours of tutoring per semester; that is, five hours of tutoring per week x the 10 weeks in a semester.

b. Attend an on-campus, weekly seminar with their college faculty supervisor, who provides to the undergraduates a Syllabus and a Bibliography of directed readings.

The faculty member's main purpose is to translate the experience of the undergraduates in the community against the theories of the academic discipline.

c. Submit a one-page report each three weeks of the semester to their college faculty supervisor.

d. Keep a private journal (which is the undergraduates property).

e. Submit a Final Report to their college faculty supervisor at the end of the semester.

2. Undergraduates Eligible to Enroll in These Courses

As a practical matter, virtually all of the nation’s undergraduates (approximately, 10,00,000 or so) are eligible to participate, since these courses are offered as “electives,” and since undergraduates, generally, must take elective courses to get a degree. This has two main benefits:

a. The potential supply of tutors is national in scope and so vast in sheer numbers as to be virtually inexhaustible; and

b. Tutoring is not an “extracurricular” activity that conflicts with the undergraduate’s obligation to study; rather, the tutoring is done as part of a three-credit elective course that moves the undergraduate toward a degree.

3. Why the Undergraduates Do Tutoring

To make the necessary distinction, it is important to point out that the undergraduates in this Project are not “mentors,” or ”student teachers"; rather, they are tutors in the old, classical sense of the term. And the undergraduates work as tutors, and only as tutors, for three main reasons:

a. Tutoring is what the children in the community genuinely need. For many children, the plain fact is that they must receive tutoring in basic subjects if they are to master the literacy skills that are essential for employment in the technological age.

b. As the National Literacy Program has demonstrated in a number of projects across the country, the undergraduates are superbly effective as tutors when working in a supervised and properly structured environment (that is, under the direct supervision of classroom teachers); and

c. Tutoring is the most effective form of instruction ever devised. (Even Alexander the Great had a tutor.)

It should also be said that the children learn not only reading, writing, and arithmetic from the tutors; they also learn the greater lesson, which is that they are capable of learning.

Moreover, because the tutors are from the local colleges, the children come to see college as a part of their own future, a future for which the tutors, in actual fact, are helping to prepare them.

Academic credit from the college served to acknowledge that the undergraduates were learning things about the various academic disciplines that they genuinely needed to know. In assessing the educational value that these courses had for the undergraduates, an Economics professor at the University of Miami wrote:

"The field experience brought a dimension to the [undergraduates'] education which would otherwise have been absent. The practical experience gave them insights into social realities which would have been nearly impossible to impart in a pure classroom environment, and this also made them think much more critically about many concepts which they had encountered on a purely intellectual level.

Coming from an abstract discipline like Economics, I found this particularly gratifying." (Emphasis supplied.)

4. Training for the Tutors

As the National Education Project is structured, all tutoring is done by the undergraduates in the back of the classroom and under the direct supervision of classroom teachers; as a result, the relationship between the classroom teacher and the tutor is absolutely critical to the success of the undergraduates as tutors.

The undergraduates must be willing to do what the teacher asks them to do, and in the way the teacher asks them to do it. For this reason, the only training that is acceptable is the on-the-job training provided by the classroom teachers.

The classroom teachers volunteer to accept the tutors into their classrooms, and they provide this training to the tutors as a part of their normal classroom duties.

Since the classroom teachers know best which children need help and the specific subjects in which they need help, the teachers decides:

a. Which children will receive tutoring;

b. The specific subjects (e.g., multiplication tables, spelling, long division, etc.) in which the children will be tutored;

c. The length of time each child will receive tutoring; and

d. The books, instructional materials, and teaching methodology the undergraduates will use.

The tutors are never left alone with the children. The undergraduates will at all times and in all cases work in the back of the classroom under the direct supervision of the classroom teacher, while the teacher conducts the larger class.

The classroom teachers provide daily supervision and guidance to the tutors; resolve any problems that may arise; and review the work of the tutor on a daily basis. The teachers also provide to the college faculty member at the end of each semester a Classroom Teacher's One-Page, End-of-Semester Evaluation Form, which measures the advances of the children in reading, writing, and mathematics during the previous semester.

National Education Project - Teachers Evaluation - St. John's

The National Literacy Program's experience is that classroom teachers line up to get these tutors, since virtually no one can provide reliable tutors at no cost. After receiving tutors for three years from St. John’s University in New York City, Mrs. Shelia Feinstein, Principal of public elementary school P.S. 48, wrote:

Teacher’s Reaction -- When the program started, teachers were happy to become involved – because it meant that specific needs would be addressed. Students who needed extra help would be helped. Because of the reputation of St. John’s, teachers knew that the tutors would be well supervised and would follow through.

After three years of working with the program -- teachers who were happy are now delighted. One of the first questions as we start a new semester or term is, ‘When are the tutors coming?’

Teachers do not mind the extra preparation involved – they are pleased to work with the tutors, to have on-going discussions, cooperative planning, follow-up and evaluation. Plan books have often included lessons or specific skills for tutors – and the program has become an intricate part of our teaching process.” (Emphasis supplied.)

5. Guidelines for the Tutors

a. The National Literacy Program provides to each undergraduate a copy of the Guidelines for the Tutors, which describes their responsibilities in detail.

b. The undergraduates work as tutors in the old, classical sense of the term, and they are required to work on a 1:1 or a 1:2 ratio as directed by the classroom teacher who supervises their work

c. At the end of each tutoring session, the undergraduates meet briefly with the classroom teacher who supervises their work to have a review of the day's work, cooperative planning, follow-up, and evaluation.


V. What the Colleges Do

1. Colleges and Universities Eligible to Participate

Post-secondary institutions eligible to participate include accredited public and private two-year colleges, four-year colleges, universities, and community colleges.

2. Five-year, $50,000 Grants to the Colleges

The $50,000 grants are provided by the National Education Project, Inc. to colleges and universities under a standard, five-year contract, and each $50,000 grant is disbursed by the National Education Project to the colleges in 10 payments over a five-year period (that is, $5,000 per semester x 10 semesters). These grants are used mainly to cover college faculty costs during the five-year grant period, although the college may pay small stipends to Student Coordinators to assist in coordinating the day-to-day work of the undergraduates.

At the same time, the undergraduates who enroll in these courses pay to the college the standard tuition that is required for any three-credit course.

3. A College May Receive More than One $50,000 Grant at the Same Time

Since these courses may properly be offered by any number of different academic disciplines, the colleges, if they wish to do so, may operate several programs at the same time.

A college or university, for example, could operate three programs, one in each of three different academic departments (e.g., Sociology, Economics, and Elementary Education). In that event, the National Education Project would provide the college with three grants in the amount of $50,000 per grant; that is, one $50,000 grant for each of the three departments participating, for a total of $150,000 over five years.

4. Starting the Course

To get the first semester started at one college or university, it is only necessary that:

a. One academic department agrees to offer the course;

b. One member of the full-time college or university faculty agrees to supervise the undergraduates; and

c. A minimum of 10 undergraduates enrolls in the course. (As a general matter, first-semester freshmen are not allowed to enroll in these courses.)

During the first semester, the 10 undergraduates would work in one elementary school, which would be selected by the college. The elementary school:

a. Must have a demonstrated need for tutors;

b. Must be a non-profit institution;

c. May be either public or parochial; and

d. For logistical reasons, should be located near the college or university.

During the nine remaining nine semesters of the grant, it is expected that 15 undergraduates would enroll in the course each semester, for a total enrollment of 145 undergraduates over the five-year/10-semester grant period.

From the second-through-tenth semesters, the tutors should be more or less evenly divided between not-more-than two elementary schools. For purposes of evaluating the advances in reading and math of the children in these schools, the colleges are encouraged to send the undergraduates to work in the same elementary schools each semester of the five-year grant, although this decision is the college’s to make.

Over the five-year grant period, the tutors from one course will produce a total of 7,250 hours of tutoring; that is, 145 undergraduates x 50 hours of tutoring produced by each undergraduate.

These hours are reported by the college to the National Literacy Program at the end of each semester in the End-of-Semester Report of Hours of Tutoring Produced. At the end of the five-year grant, a report of total hours of tutoring produced is provided.


VI. What the College Professors Do

The college faculty member is responsible for:

1. Conducting the weekly on-campus seminars;

2. Preparing the course syllabus and bibliography; and

3. At the end of each semester, the National Literacy Program provides to the college professor the "Outline for the End-of-Semester Report by the College Faculty Member," which summarizes the work of the tutors during the previous semester.

Among other things, this college faculty member reviews how well the undergraduates did as tutors and also during the weekly on-campus seminars; any problems that may have arisen and their resolution; suggestions for improvements; and so forth.

The college faculty member also provides to the National Literacy Program:

a. The one-page Final Report of Hours of Tutoring Produced during the previous semester; and

b. Copies of the Classroom Teacher's One-Page, End-of-Semester Evaluation Form, which measures the advances of the children in reading and math during the previous semester (i.e., one evaluation for each undergraduate working at the school).

VII. What the Elementary School Principals Do

An elementary school principal who chooses to participate in the National Literacy Program signs an Agreement with the college that stipulates the terms under which the tutors will work. This Agreement between the college and the elementary school must be renewed each semester of the five-year grant.

At the start of each semester, the school principal will offer the tutors to the classroom teachers, who volunteer to accept the tutors into their classrooms

An Attendance Book will be kept in the principal's office, which will be used by the tutors to sign-in and sign-out for each tutoring session. All missed tutoring sessions must be made up by the end of the semester. There are no excused absences.

At mid-term and at the end of each semester, the school principal will provide the college professor with a copy of the one-page "End-of-Semester Report of Hours of Tutoring Produced," which shows the precise number of hours of tutoring produced up to that point by the undergraduates.

The numbers for these reports are drawn from the Attendance Book that is kept in the principal's office.

VIII. What the Elementary School Classroom Teachers Do

Classroom teachers must volunteer to accept tutors into their classrooms, and they will guide the tutors in their work according to the terms stipulated in the "Guidelines for the Classroom Teacher," which will be provided to each teacher by the National Literacy Program.

At all times and in all cases the undergraduates work in the back of the classroom under the direct supervision of the classroom teacher, while the teacher conducts the larger class. The tutors are never left alone with the children.

The undergraduates work as tutors in the old, classical sense of the term, and they are required to work on a 1:1 or a 1:2 ratio, or in very small groups. Moreover, and as a fundamental matter, the undergraduates:

1. Are not permitted to work with the class as one large group;

2. Do not grade papers for the classroom teacher;

3. Do not monitor the cafeteria at lunchtime;

4. Do not supervise recess; and

5. Do not do office work for the school principal.

Because the classroom teachers know best which children need help and the specific subjects in which they need help, the teachers decides:

1. Which children will receive tutoring;

2 The specific subjects (e.g., multiplication tables, spelling, long division, etc.) in which the children will be tutored;

3. The length of time each child will receive tutoring; and

4. The books, instructional materials, and teaching methodology the undergraduates will use.

The classroom teachers provide daily supervision and guidance to the tutors and resolve any problems that may arise; review the work of the tutor on a daily basis; and also provide to the college faculty member at the end of each semester a Classroom Teacher's One-Page, End-of-Semester Evaluation Form, which measures the advances of the children in reading, writing, and mathematics during the previous semester.


IX. Results of the Tutoring in One Elementary School

1. Written Report at the End of Each Semester

At the end of each semester, the National Education Project provides to sponsors a Report of Results. This report has two main parts:

a. The precise number of hours of tutoring produced by the undergraduates during the previous semester. These numbers are drawn from the Attendance Book that is kept in the principal's office; and

b. Copies of the end-of-semester Evaluations written by the classroom teachers that measure the advances of the children in reading and mathematics during the previous semester.

2. Written Report at the End of the Five-Year Grant Period

At the end of the five-year grant period, the National Education Project provides to sponsors a Report of Results over Five Years. This report has two main parts:

a. The precise number of hours of tutoring produced by the undergraduates during the five-year grant period; and

b. A summary of the end-of-semester evaluations written by the classroom teachers that measure the advances of the children in reading and mathematics (this will show the results in one elementary school after it has received a total of 7,250 hours of tutoring over a five-year period).

This is at a cost of approximately $7.00 per hour of tutoring produced (i.e., the $50,000 grant divided by 7,250 hours of tutoring produced by the undergraduates over five years).

If an hour of tutoring produced by the undergraduates is valued at $20 per hour, then the hours of tutoring produced over five years would equal $145,000 in value.

X. Raising Reading and Math Scores Across an Entire City -- 20 Elementary Schools

The National Literacy Program proposes to raise reading and math scores across a medium-size city by establishing 20 programs in that city. Twenty programs, in turn, will provide 145,000 hours of tutoring to the children in the elementary schools of that city during a five-year period (that is, 20 programs x 7,250 hours of tutoring produced by each program).

After five years of tutoring on such a scale, that city will have, on the reading and math test scores alone, one of the finest elementary school systems in the nation.

If a medium-size city should have 50,000 undergraduates, each of whom must take, on average, one elective course each semester, then there is over five years/10 semesters a pool of 500,000 undergraduates from which to draw. The result is that 145 undergraduates represent less that 1 percent of the 500,000 undergraduates in that city eligible to participate over five years.

XI. The National Literacy Program’s 50-City Initiative

The National Literacy Program proposes to initiate a 50-City Initiative, which is designed to provide reliable, profoundly effective tutors on a massive scale to children in the elementary schools of 50 medium-size cities across the country.

Our purpose, simply put, is to raise reading and math scores across entire cities, and to provide to these children the literacy skills they must have if they are to be employable in a technological economy.

To accomplish this, the Project plans to establish 20 programs in each city. Twenty programs in one city, in turn, will provide 145,000 hours of tutoring to the children in the elementary schools of that city during a five-year period (that is, 20 programs x 7,250 hours of tutoring produced by each program).

The National Literacy Program's 50-City Initiative will produce a total of 7,250,000 hours of tutoring in a five-year period (that is, 145,000 hours of tutoring per city x 50 cities), and raise reading and math scores across the entire nation.

XII. The Creation of Vast New Wealth for Individual Americans, Their Families, and for the Nation

If the tutoring provided by the undergraduates is valued at a modest $20 per hour, then 7,250,000 hours of tutoring would be worth $145,000,000.

Moreover, the children who are tutored by the undergraduates would be made employable in a technological economy and they would produce vast amounts of new wealth over a working lifetime for themselves, their families, and for the nation.