Banter Bites

Going Old School?

No school! At first, kids were very excited. But then they became frustrated and bored. Then sad. And now we're all scared that they may never catch up.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: According to history, tutors have been around for centuries; in ancient Greece, the children of the wealthy were educated individually or in small groups by masters or tutors, and through the ages, nobility has always used tutors.

And while wealthy people have always used tutors, during the last decades more and more students have been able to enjoy the benefits of private tutors (vs. parents tutoring their children) due to the growing number of tutoring companies and free online services. It's a quickly growing "industry" and offers learning systems for a wide variety of subjects and learning challenges. So, that's all great, yes? Well, not necessarily … as Black recently explained to Red,

Often students who need tutors the most are the ones least likely to have access to them, either because of cost and/or internet access. And for those that might suggest that parents step in, the pandemic has shown that not all parents are created equal in terms of being able to tutor their children, whether because of lack of time, lack of knowledge, or just not having the "ability" to teach.

So, as if this "equation" wasn't unbalanced enough, then you have a pandemic which led, unbelievably quickly, to the majority of schools throughout the United States closing. Schools were totally unprepared, and while they tried their best to offer online learning combined with in-classroom instruction, millions of students were rapidly left behind.

Red, being first and foremost a mom, wondered what could be done? Could anything be done? Or would these kids, ultimately, be one of the greatest "casualties" of the COVID-19 pandemic? And when she posed these heartbreaking questions to Black, her sister let her know that there might an unexpected, yet logical, answer to the problem,

While politicians are trying to figure things out, the nonprofit sector is doing what it does best – being creative and nimble. For example, Sal Khan of the Khan Academy recently created Schoolhouse World, which he believes is a scalable blueprint for matching knowledgeable tutors with students in need. Another idea, touted as a Tutoring Marshall Plan, comes from the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University and proposes training recent college graduates to become tutors.

Once Red read (ok, skimmed) the articles, it became obvious to her that although a national network of tutors might be an unusual remedy, the concept of tutoring was ancient. It merely was being updated for today's times.

P.S. – Black knew not to "bore" Red with New Research Shows That Even Lightly Trained Volunteers Drive Academic Gains.

This is one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites in large part because of Black’s “corny” puns, but also because fresh corn is a summer staple – whether cooked on the grill or in the microwave, whether eaten on its own or as a primary ingredient in refreshing summer salads


This may be one of the corniest things you’ll ever read.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It’s just a vegetable, so how can it possibly elicit such a strong reaction from Red, while, for Black, it’s more a source of amusement and even, it turns out, admiration?

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Think you can avoid artificial intelligence? Think again …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red already fights technology at every turn, preferring to keep her ostrich head in the sand, plus, she finds Artificial Intelligence (AI) scary; whereas Black knows ignoring reality merely postpones the inevitable, so she’s started playing with AI to understand it better …

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A man better known for his death than his life, although Red, the straight-A student and history lover, immediately thinks of the costly and controversial movie of his life. (Well, technically, it was the life of Cleopatra.) Black, of course, focuses on business – leadership lessons, including the power of words, although she surprises Red with some food trivia. But the fact July’s named after him is the perfect excuse to rerun one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites …

Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Almost everyone has heard of Julius Caesar, but how many of us really know much about him, or at least that's what Red starts to wonder when she receives the usual flippant, but still accurate, reply from her sister, after feeling very proud that she knew that July was named after the famous Roman.

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