Believe it or not, free tutoring is indeed an option for many children. Unfortunately some school districts have not done a good job at spreading the word. To qualify for these services, children must be eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch and must attend a Title I school that was deemed "in need of improvement" for two years in a row. (Title I schools are typically those where more than a third of the students are from low income families). If you don’t know whether this applies to you grandson, have his mom call the school district office and ask.
The next question you might ask is, “who provides the tutoring?” Each state has a list of “approved” providers including not-for-profit organizations, for-profit companies, and even individuals with certain types of educational credentials and teaching or clinical experience. Once a child is found to be eligible for tutoring, the family gets to choose the provider and the school district sets up a contract to deliver (and pay for) the services. In the same way that schools are required to ensure that students are making progress, these tutoring providers are required to meet with parents, set goals, and share progress updates with the school district and the child's teachers or principal.
Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D.
National Center for Learning Disabilities