AOC's Campaign Launches Virtual Homework Helper Program

by Christina Marfice
Shannon Finney/Getty

When she saw kids falling behind on their remote learning, AOC launched a program to provide them with free tutoring and homework help

With the pandemic surging almost entirely unchecked across the United States, many kids are still in remote classes for school — or returning to distance learning after schools are shut down again. Distance learning would be hard under any circumstances, but asking kids to keep up with classwork from home, without in-person support from their teacher or peers, with the stress of a global pandemic on top of it all? It’s no wonder not all kids are keeping up. So AOC set out to help.

The New York Congresswoman just launched a virtual homework helper program to help students living in her district by providing them with up to one hour of free online tutoring per week. The program enlists volunteer tutors and expert educators from all over the country, and it could serve as a model of what other communities could offer for their students.

According to AOC, she came up with the program “due to systemic inequities in our education system, working class families are especially struggling with virtual learning and homework.” She added, “It was important for our community to step in and do what we do best, which is to empower and organize local families and leverage our robust volunteer base.”

It began when AOC started hearing stories from her constituents about the struggles they and their children were having with distance learning. She soon put out a call for volunteers who had tutoring experience. The tutors are supported by professional educators, and connected with parent-teacher organizations who can help spread the word about the new service. Then, parents can send in a photo of their kid’s homework and request an hourlong, one-on-one help session to get the assignment finished. Parents can also sign up for weekly, ongoing time slots for their kids.

Currently, there are 120 trained homework helpers in the program, with more being added all the time. AOC has a goal of helping 1,000 kids in her district this school year. More importantly, with the New York program already seeing success, AOC and other organizers hope that their model can be replicated across the country to help all kids who are struggling with school under these crazy conditions.

“Anyone can do this,” said Jonathan Soto, an AOC campaign organizer. “We encourage everyone—parents or high school students—to work with their PTAs to reach out to your local community. If you have 20 people who are willing to give one hour per week for four weeks, you’ll be able to service an entire class.”