Aurini and Davies (2004) compare and contrast the shadow educator and learning centres in their paper, The Transformation of Private Tutoring: Education in a Franchise Form. They discuss the impacts franchising has on tutoring and education. The statistics (shown in the youtube video below) demonstrate the increasing demand for private tutoring in Ontario, Canada and North America. Aurini and Davies (2004) show that these learning centres are becoming highly diverse and beginning to offer an alternative to public schooling. Please watch the xtranormal animation to learn more about what learning centres offer.

Aurini and Davies (2004) show that learning centres are becoming more competitive with public schools because of their increasing diversity of programs they offer by their franchises. Essentially, they are becoming more and more school like. Since tutors are usually sought out for after school help, learning centres have had to target different groups to fill their spaces during the school day. Now learning centres are targeting four main groups (Aurini and Davies, 2004, p.427):

1. High school students who want to go to university in the States. These students can prepare for the entrance exams (SAT) during their prep. periods.
2. Preschoolers. “Beginning Reading” (Sylvan), “Little Readers” (Oxford) and “Fast Track Kids” (Academy for Mathematics and Science) are just some of the programs targeted at this age group.
3. Adult education and skill upgrading. Some of these programs are being taught online.
4. Some learning centres are opening full day private schools. They attract parents by offering small class sizes.

“It has been found that there is high demand for tutoring in countries that have post secondary entrance exams, major status differences among their post secondary institutions, and direct occupational rewards for entry into those institutions.” (Bray, 1999 as cited in Aurini and Davies, 2004, p.421) So why are Canadians feeling more and more pressure to seek out tutors and private schools?

-More parents are becoming involved in their children’s education.
-University is becoming harder to get into.
-“Parents generally view private schools as having superior resources, smaller classes, and a more academic environment.” (Aurini and Davies, 2004, p.436)

Is the public education system pushing our students away?

Schools are regularly introducing new curriculum, more standardized tests at many grade levels, new report cards etc. These changes can cause confusion and unease. The founder of a math tutoring business believed that Ontario’s new math curriculum has boosted business because of the fear it has invoked in parents and students. (Aurini and Davies, 2004)

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