By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The New York Times Sunday Review reports on a math program for minority teen boys in Chicago that every educator and policymaker should read.

Students in “math-tutoring on steroids” were 7 years behind in reading and 10 in math – 16-year-olds with skills of 3rd graders, who previously missed more than a month of school – prime candidates for dropouts and for school-to-gang to prison.

With Match – intensive tutoring and mentoring by college age tutors working 2 on 1 – participants scored 2 years ahead of a control group and performed “substantially better” on the school district’s math tests, with carry-over to non-math subjects.

Lawrence Steinberg, a Temple University psychologist, points out that the teen years, not just early childhood, also are a time of “neuroplasticity” in which the brain has solid potential to change.

At a cost of $16,000 plus benefits per year for tutors, this program deserves replication.