Coming Soon: ‘Rajiv and Me’?

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Today's Post reports on latest service being outsourced to Bangalore: private academic tutoring. It's a boon to parents, the paper says, as they can buy struggling junior a month of unlimited tutors for only $99, versus the $50 to $200 hourly rate the Post says Manhattan tutors charge. But there's a flipside to everything, and we can't help but wonder: What about the poor, displaced, old-fashioned American tutors?

As any who graduated from college in the last ten years knows, private tutoring, at least here in Manhattan is less a "field" than a "sham," in which layabout liberal-arts twentysomethings suck outrageous hourly fees from the teat of absentee-Manhattan-parent guilt, which makes this a profound "dark side of globalization" story, if one of the least tragic ones ever. We know dozens of people who suckle at that aforementioned teat, and they all express the same mixture of guilt and glee about taking under-the-table-money and laughing all the way to the bank — and then to two hours a day at the gym, four extra hours a night of sleep, and the occasional bursts of "work" on a vaguely defined creative "job." Is this the end of a way of life for these soon-to-be-displaced slackers? We asked one. "I rolled out of bed at noon today and was planning on doing some work on my project about the death of the independent video store when I saw the news that my lifestyle is now being threatened by 12-year-old Indian kids," he said. "I'm not psyched about the fact that the days of the seven-hour workweek are over. I feel some solidarity with all those factory workers in Michigan." Yes, we're sure Michael Moore is firing up his cameras now.

Ben Mathis-Lilley

'Applet' for the Teacher [NYP]