I’ve seen a bit of criticism of Michelle Rhee’s shake-up of the Washington D.C. school district, which includes a program co-sponsored by Harvard that pays middle-school students up to $100 for meeting attendance and performance goals.
But with her exemplary background in public management (with a master’s degree in public policy from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University), I’d say she’s just the right person to shake things up in Washington D.C.’s school district.
Under the previous administration, by the way, “only 12 percent of the District’s eighth graders are proficient in reading and just 8 percent are proficient in math.” (Source: CNN.com, 09/09/2008.).
With a track record like that, I don’t see how anything but RADICAL change would help.
So, I support Rhee’s education experiments. Maybe they’ll improve things a little. Maybe they will lead to additional programs that will also improve things a little. Bit by bit, all these changes might lead to big improvements.
This, by the way, is not the only “learn and earn” experiment going on in our schools. The Learning Makes a Difference foundation (LMD) is running an after-school tutoring program outside of Atlanta that pays kids to attend tutoring sessions.
Going back to the D.C. situation: twelve percent of eighth-graders “proficient in reading?” That’s a complete disgrace. How can anyone justify continuing with the “same old, same old” when the old ways have obviously not worked.
What do you think? Would you support a program that pays kids to attend school or do their homework? When trying to help kids that can’t read by the eighth grade, would you change your mind?