BellaTutor grew from my individual work as an educator and education theorist. After working as an educator for over ten years and studying education theory for over twenty years, I had done more and more work outside the education establishment, including over eight years of ACT and SAT test preparation. I saw the system failing its students over and over, and I wanted to help.
Education in the United States has some wonderful bright spots, but on the whole, it is failing in its mission. Education “leaders” are continually proclaiming their efforts to fix or rebuild or rework American education, but it doesn’t get better. If anything, it actually gets worse. Why?
The problem is the system itself. The structural elements of our mainline institutions are inherently flawed. Take, for example, the system’s insistence in dividing children into age groups, a concept that was largely foreign to western culture until the twentieth century. Healthy culture is dependent upon people of varying ages, social statuses, and maturity levels interacting with one another. The less we segregate ourselves by age—and more to the point in this context—the less we segregate our children by age, the better off we will be and the better off our children will be.
Another prime example of the system’s faulty structure is the lack of parental responsibility. Note that I did not say parental involvement. The term “parental involvement” is typically used by schools within the system to refer to parents taking time out of their day to volunteer their effort for tasks the school would prefer get done for free so they don’t have to pay for them (which may help keeps tuition costs down, etc.). This kind of parental involvement has the parent helping the school, involved in the activities of the school, but not usually involved in the actual education of their children. The kind of parental responsibility that I advocate is much more fundamental: Parents must educate their children, and whenever another agent of education—in other words, a teacher—participates, they must do so at the request and with the oversight of the parents. We have a crippling sense in American society today that teachers are the experts and we need to leave the teaching to them. In reality, we teachers need to always submit to the legitimate authority of the parents, supporting and encouraging them in the healthy exercise of their authority.
I have now been working as an educator for close to twenty years, and I continue to study sound education theory. For many years, I have been developing a plan for engaging parents in a meaningful way in the education of their children. Saying that parents are responsible doesn’t deny that parents often (usually) need help in educating their children, if they want their children well-educated. Nor does saying parents are responsible suppose that takes no responsibility will magically—automatically—produce well-educated children. My plan acknowledges parental responsibility. My plan supports parental authority. My plan provides a method for involving and training students, teachers, and parents in a cooperative effort to produce self-actuating learners.
In the coming months, BellaTutor will unveil details of this plan, which we intend to implement in phases over the next two years, culminating in a hybrid school that provides our students with the right amount of structure for them, personalizing their education in an organic way that allows them to continue in their existing programs, whether homeschooling, private schooling, or public schooling. We will offer education training for students, for parents (and/or guardians), and for teachers. Keep watching for more details.