Archives Throwback: BC Tutorial Project (1965)

lois webster with student

Thursday, April 23, 2020

In 1965, Bakersfield College students got together to tutor disadvantaged elementary and junior high children. The Bakersfield College Tutorial Project is mentioned briefly in the 1966 Raconteur, and you can read a full survey and case study about the program through the Educational Resources Information Center archive.

The following passage from the Raconteur shows how the Renegade passion for giving back to our community continues to this day. Today, we have our Renegade Pantry to make sure our students have the nutrition they need to stay on the path to finishing their education, and our Foster Kinship and Care Education program works with our foster students and their resource parents to support them in their future.

“Let us clean up the litter, abolish billboards, and camouflage all unaesthetic sights. Then our country will be pure and clean, a perfect setting for the Great Society. But will it? Doubtfully, for there is a blight upon this land, a deadly pestilence that will prevent any wonderful tomorrow from ever dawning. What is this awful thing to cast such a dark shadow? It is children. No, not the children that most of us are accustomed to--the happy secure children. It is the children you never see--the children from the wrong part of town. The children who start school with the vocabularies of three year olds. The children who live in poverty, filth, and disease. The children who are beaten almost before they start because in their world, no one ever wins.

“It is up to us as individuals to aid these children. There is one such group of individuals at B.C. who have formed a Tutorial Project with the express purpose of helping educationally deprived children. The Tutorial Project is now being conducted at Fremont School where in a class of 39, about 33 are in need of special help.

“The hardest part of tutoring is knowing the chances are 100-1 against ever seeing the results of your work. Maybe the child will do better for a while but you won't always be there and his environment will. The roots of poverty and ignorance are deep; it takes time to remove them. There are 40 children being tutored now; there are 840 in Fremont School. Our Tutorial Project does not provide all the answers. No single effort can, but through the work of a group of individuals involved in this program, an honest attempt has been made to solve a problem, a problem that can no longer be ignored.”