ORADELL, NJ -- (Marketwire) -- 09/20/12 -- It doesn't take a stack of research to show that our children's schedules are busier than ever. After a busy day in school, the end-of-day bell announces the beginning of sports scrimmages, play rehearsals, and band practice.
Are these busy schedules good for children? Experts say that -- when reasonable -- the extracurricular activities have benefits. They lead to more positive values, higher self-esteem, and better academic achievement. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that high school seniors who planned on attending college had higher participation rates in various activities than those who did not have college plans.(1) A study by the U.S. Department of Education states that students who participate in extra-curricular activities are three times more likely to have a grade point average of 3.0 or better than students who do not participate in such activities.(2)
Further persuasion comes from the Parkinson Research Institute at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee. Its director, Thomas Fritsch, Ph.D., reported that youth activities lead to benefits in old age. A study linked adolescent involvement in scheduled activities to mental agility in the senior years.(3)
What kinds of activities are filling these students' busy schedules? In a 2010 study, the National Center for Education Statistics found that 43.4 percent of high school sophomores played on athletic teams, 23.1 percent were in music and performing arts activities, 4 percent served on newspaper and yearbook staffs, and 27.8 percent participated in other school activities.(1)
And these are just the school-sponsored activities. Every year, parents sign up their children for private music lessons, language courses, and the ever-popular enrichment activity -- tutoring.
In an effort to boost academic achievement, hundreds of thousands of students schedule after-school time with tutors. According to Edward Gordon, a tutoring consultant for the federal and state governments, parents spend approximately $8 billion a year on tutors. Further, the federal government will spend about $1 billion to pay for tutors due to the "No Child Left Behind" Act.(4)
Huntington Learning Center, a nationwide industry leader in the franchise tutoring business, has seen a boom in their tutoring services over the years. Typically, their students meet with tutors in Huntington centers conveniently located in neighborhoods. In recent years, Huntington's instructors also go into school for after-school tutoring programs that are paid for by government funding provided through the No Child Left Behind Act.
Why has tutoring become such a valued part in the schedule of America's youth? Seemingly, parents are looking for educational benefits that go beyond the classroom day. For one thing, American schools are testing more than ever. The No Child Left Behind Act requires reading and math tests for students in grades three to eight. Test results lead to public funding. Some test results lead to admission to selective public middle or high schools. As teachers follow a demanding schedule to prepare for the tests, many students rely on tutors to help keep pace or to gain an academic edge.
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