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Wealthy Parents Are Spending Thousands Of Dollars For Kids To Learn In ‘Pods’

Jennifer Passmore Aug 22 2020

UCONN

Most schools have shared their reopening plans by now. Whether that is in-person, totally virtual, or a hybrid of the two. Many parents have had to choose either one or the other. However, wealthy parents are turning to learning ‘pods,‘ and in-person tutoring to give their children an extra boost. But these pods come with a price tag of upwards of $30,000.

Parents are looking to supplement what schools are providing, even the private schools that they are already paying thousands of dollars a year for. ‘Pods’ are small groups of ten children or less that are in the same grade. Many of the parents believe hiring a private tutor to lead these pods will supplement what might be lost within the classroom.

Command Education, founded by Christopher Rim, who has a BA in psychology has been flooded with calls from parents who are looking for tutors for their pods that they have made with other families with whom they are close. Rim has already staffed four pods that are in the Hamptons, and he is expecting to have at least 10 booked by the time school begins.

Children will rotate the learning process at a different home each week. One wealthy mom has already offered her 13-bedroom mansion as a permanent learning center for her 11th grader and three other children.

Rim told the New York Post, “These days, nothing is off the table. It’s about your child not falling behind. There’s nothing too expensive in terms of education for their child.” For his service, it is $3,500 a week or $30,000 per semester. If paid upfront, it is $70,000, which covers a total of 30 weeks. Rim is only 25-years-old, and he began Command Education in 2015.

All of the tutors who he hires are Ivy League graduates, under the age of 30. While some have teaching degrees, others don’t. He does affirm that his program is not a replacement for school and that his program is not accredited. It is simply a supplement to make sure that children do not fall behind in their studies. He assures that all of his tutors will undergo a COVID test each week and will follow all CDC guidelines for social distancing.

One mother from the Upper East Side hired Rim because it is a “critical time” for her child who is in middle school. She did admit that it was a bit pricey when she had to shell out the $30,000 for the fall semester. She had already invested $50,000 for private school. She thinks it is definitely worth it, because it is all about the investment of the education of her child. She said it also takes the pressure off of her having to “police her child.”

Another Upper East Side mom has two high-schoolers and has spent $35,000 for each of them for the tutoring service, in addition to the $55,000 for private school. She admits that it is all about getting into a good college. She said, “If you get a B or two B’s, good luck getting out of that hole. We’re just making sure they’re trying to stay the course.” She also noted that a lot of her children’s work is “beyond her skill set,” so that is where the tutoring comes in.

Frances Kweller of Kweller Prep said her phone “blew up” after the United Federation of Teachers said that they planned to go on strike. She noted that many parents do not trust what the Department of Education has planned, and they want a solid program for their child. She is going to run her own pods, at about $750 per child per month. The pods will be four-to-six children each.

This article appeared on MOMS on Aug 22, 2020