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?
Mike Honcho says
money money money money monnay here comes the money!
april latimer says
i think it could be a qood idea, but if we have to pay taxes then no. &; to the people who say that they’d be waistinq their money, they arent… obviously they wouldnt qive the money to people with sucky qrades &; who dont do jack in school. they do qive it to the people who do work hard. not the slackers. so YEH! WHAT NOW?!
Kathy Seal says
These pay to learn programs sound like a good idea, but there are huge pitfalls. Just one: stop paying the kids, and they think it’s time to stop going to school. Do we want to teach them that? Here’s an article I coauthored that explains the vast body of research on what happens when you pay people to learn:
BLOGGING at http://pressuredparents.wordpress.com/
I think this is the most absurd idea anyone can come up with! When are the KIDS to be held accountable? Everything is always pinpointed back against the teachers and now you want to pay kids to attend school when in reality that is what they are supposed to do anyway?!?!? I am a 10th grade math teacher in PA, and I think kids these days are so lazy. They want everything done for them because that is what they are use to at home. Mom and dad will do whatever to get them out of their hair. You really think paying a student to come to school is going to change attitudes of these kids today? I don
Ya i think kids should be paid that would be awsome!
Maria B says
ALERT ALERT ALERT
Some districts are JAILING parents of students with 5 unexcused
absences. This is outrageous. Scary. Abuse by the government.
Paying students to attend is at least a sincere
intent by those suggesting it. Not nice to call it “idiotic” as in some postings.
Come on folks. Be polite.
I think that paying kids isnt a very good idea. I go to school and a few people just don’t pay attention, so you’d be wasting your money on some of them.
I think that paying kids isnt a very good idea. I go to school and a few people just don’t pay attention, so you’d be wasting your money on some of them.
S. Davie says
I don’t have a problem with this concept,because my motto now is, “What ever it takes”. We never know what kind of circumstances our students are coming from. For some the last thing that is nurtured at home is academics or study, so if there is an individual or an organization that is willing to provide incentive for them to do what is beneficial for them, I say go for it. Who knows, along the way the student might just learn to appreciate academics. On the other hand those students who do what is nescessary anyway and have the support at home, “it’s just icing on the cake”.
No, we’re not in the classroom to raise other people’s children, but being a student is like their job. If they do it well, they get paid in the traditional way and the not so traditional way.
Ashley Williamson says
I would looooooooooooooove if kids got payed for showing up to school. because i am a kid and i love $$$$. Cha Ching!
Leonor Marques says
We also have such problems in Portugal, but pay for them to go to school? We want to give them positive values. Giving students money is making them lazy, idle, take the wrong decisions, lead a bad life and get vices they won’t run away. If students want some money, they should find a part-time or a holiday job.
Im from England, UK. We have similar problems over here with truency and bad school behaviour but i think paying a child would seriously mix up their values. Children should be brought up by parents to value their education after all its free here in the UK. We now live in a sue culture where everyone thinks the world owes them a living. very sad indeed. Helen, UK.
Im from England, UK. We have similar problems over here with truency and bad school behaviour but i think paying a child would seriously mix up their values. Children should be brought up by parents to value their education after all its free here in the UK. We now live in a sue culture where everyone things the world owes them a living. very sad indeed. Helen, UK.
Theresa Calidonna says
I think paying a child to go to school is the most idiotic thing any one can come up with. Positive encouragement works in the school I work in. I am the Computer Teacher Assistant and I do the computer lab along with tech support. I have never offered anything to a student other than compassion, caring and understanding. But we have a “Caught You Being Good” program. When a student is being good the staff member that sees it gives them a colored coin. When they go to lunch they stand up in the cafeteria and tell why they got the coin. Then they exchange the coin for a pencil of their choice. The students love that. We have also offered them the opportunity to behave at lunch and we do a free ice cream drawing for each class in all grade levels. There are other ways than paying students money to get them interested in school. Yes, middle school is totally different than elementary school, but positive encouragement goes a long way. Even a hug or a high five from an adult puts a smile on a students face. Each individual teacher or teacher assistant that has a class has the opportunity to develop a good listener program also. If you listen and pay attention in class you could be chosen as the “good listener” and given a chance to choose something out of the treasure box.
Mary Lou says
Absolutely NOT! We are already paying FOR those students to have a free public education. Here’s a few other ideas: Police–write tickets to truants. Lawmakers–pass laws refusing to give students driver’s licenses and work permits if they don’t show up and perform.
PARENTS–DO YOUR JOBS! If you need to kick their truant little behinds all the way to school, do it. Quit buying them every little thing they desire. How about No truant/failing Child Left sitting on their Behinds playing video games! Make them earn it and BE CONSISTENT. Demand respectful behavior out of them and quit blaming the teachers because your “poor little angel” acts up. Tell your kids, “Yeah, school is tough. Sometimes it isn’t fun. Hello–life lesson–life isn’t easy. Toughen up, quit whining, pay attention, do your work, and make something out of the gift of life I gave you!” Let’s start a nation-wide movement like that and then watch the test scores climb!
RICARDO MARINO says
Since good students don’t need any other motivation but the right one they already have. the self preparation, the will to be successful, the desire to honor their parent’s sacrifice for their education, then I understand this program is directed to those one who lack all these true and legitime motivations. Well it will really keep them in school in most of the cases but when they are finished. would they have adquired the right motivations to live wisely. It is truly a non conservative way of education that will work in the present but to make sure it will result in a postive life style when they are adults it will have to be reinforced with classes that lead them in the right path, they will have to study real life examples of the close community that show them the real results our desitions since they are always trying to live the “NOW” so intensively that they forguet and really dont mind about the “AFTER” but a picture is worth more than a thousand words. anyway some of them are going to miss the way because the family backgroud without moral and religious beliefs is a really heavy thing to fight against with, but we can give for granted we would save as many of them as possible.
finally we really need to go back to the traditional american familiy that is almost extincted. we really need to come back to our loving God. He is the only answer.
Here in Missouri they have a program they call Summer Adventure. The schools have prizes for their students by drawing their name each day they are divided in by groups. They also give them 100 dollar gift card it is a prepaid debit visa that they can use to by what ever they need. But this is for good attendance and behavior if you miss a day or fight or are sent to the office it goes down to 75 dollars 2 days 50 dollars 3 days 25 dollars 4 days you lose the money. At the end of summer school they also have a final drawing for a game system. My son has used his to buy his supplies and clothes for school. This is an incentive and one can apply this to the regular school year if they wanted.
Bill McGuinness says
Nonsense! There are basic needs for school that are the real corrective measures.
1) CLASS SIZE – In this era, small class size is crutial.
2) After school programs (not extended day with similar studies i.e. Math. problems but exploritory areas not covered during the school day.)
3) Teacher grades meaning more than standardized tests
4) Put money into public schools for supplies, textbooks rather than trying to create elitist charter schools that have dogmatic missions based on religious, political or other limiting views on life.
5) Pay appropriate salaries to teachers.
6) Build parent organizations that foster support.
7) Don’t bribe kids with allowances (Parental or governmental)
Based on 40 years of Public School work experience.
Anne DeArmon says
Parental responsibility, respect, honor and other wonderful moral indicators are on the decline. For years educators have been trying a variety of ways to get parents involved in their child’s education. When a child doesn’t have the support of parents the child stands at a significant disadvantage. In looking at the area where this experiment is being tried I see too many two working parent families. I see a lot of single parent families. I see too many of those students finding it easier to make money on the streets rather than valuing education and hard work. For some parents it isn’t a matter of desire but time and effort that just isn’t there. As these parents try to eke out a living to survive the students are left to define for themselves what a good life means. I am not sure if paying students to stay in school would be helpful if the money made on the streets was more. I am not sure I agree with paying students to attend school either but it is done and it works for some. Parents who pay their students for A’s on a report card is one way that some parents try to motivate their students. But it happens in many other arenas as well. How many students are rewarded with hard work, persistance and good grades with scholarships? Isn’t that a way of paying students for attending school?
Of course the teachers are also blamed when there is a 12% proficiency. But I know for a fact as I have seen it happen if a student isn’t there for school the student does not learn. The teacher cannot be blamed if the student isn’t there.
I see this as an experiment in an area that has tried many other things. If it works for them then maybe once a student gets a hold onto the dream of what an education can bring maybe that can be passed along to their children instead.
Nary Ellen says
Definitely not. It is a privilege to receive an education and not only that, it is a responsibility not only of our kids but we as parents have to put our foot down and set rules and keep track of what our children do. In our society it is easy to lose focus on what is important and that there is a future waiting out there and we need to be prepared for it.
So paying kids to attend school is totally absurd. We continue telling our kids that money is what gives meaning to our life and that is -a globalized- way of thinking in our society. Let´s go back to the basics and promote education as a way to better our society.
Paying students cash to meet certain attendance or grade milestones is not a new idea. It is a hybrid of a very old idea. The hybrid here is that the incentive is cash.
If there is someone out there whose school district or PTA does not reward those with perfect or close to perfect attendance, please let me know. The rewards generally given out are pizza parties or certificates and your name in a newsletter but there is recognition and incentive.
In my school district, middle school students receive a pizza party or make your own sundae party at the end of each quarter if making honor roll. Then, the honor roll names are listed in the school’s newsletter.
At the high school level, students receive recognition in both the school’s newsletter and via an award based on the level of grade achieved: bronze award (overall average of between 85 and 89.9999), silver award (overall average of between 90 and 94.999), gold award (overall average of 95 and above).
This is a good idea to move these students to recognize the importance of education in their lives.
Ericka Jones-Smith says
I do not think it’s a good idea. Telling kids education is very important start at home. If the kids can not read or do math well by the eighth grade then go check and talk to the person who is taking care of them and see where they finish school or drop out. Also they need to check and see if the care giver can help with the homework. Also Washington DC offical need to see if the care giver needs help with Math and Reading also. Because if they need help with Math and Reading how can they help the kids improve and the felling subject for the national testing systems.
Kim Maksymuik says
While paying kids to show up at school could be dangerous if implemented correctly, it can have benefits.
In an area in Toronto (Canada) where there is government supported housing a plan was was tested to give kids money to pay for college and/or university if they maintained a certain grade level. The project was funded by both public and private (Corporate) funds and was successful beyond anyone’s expectations. In this scenario, I think everyone wins.
Many children don’t see the payoff to staying in school. It is a sad reality that for many children, school isn’t a positive place where they learn how to transition into successful and independent adults equipped to go into the world.
Motivation is an ideal tool to get children to work but for how long….i think the children should be self-motivated and not just rely on others to push them
I think that if it gets the kids in school, then it’s worth the money provided they perform and show growth. Isn’t that what NCLB is about? After they get their money is someone going to show them how to invest it for their future or are they free to spend it on anything that might show up on the corner.
Tom Watts says
Absolutely not! If those kids and their parents don’t understand the value of an education, they deserve what they get. However, I have a second grader that is being taught things in school which are patently false, like the civil war was fought to free the slaves, or indoctrinated with claims that I am responsible for our poor environment because I was a commercial fisherman. He would come home last year at least 2 or 3 times a week telling me about the Disney movies they watched at school, and they also get weekly visits from the high school football players whom they are taught to adulate and idolize and sent to “pep rallies” for the high school football team. He is only seven years old and I am compelled by law to send him to this indoctrination camp, where his curiosity and creativity are stifled and some teachers with only the barest grasp of history, most of it false or propagandized try to force him into their mold. So the problem is not the kids, it is the school, or the parents. Most children have a built in desire to learn and keep learning. That desire should be fostered not snuffed through boredom. Let the kids who want to learn learn what they want and they will become what they should. Those who don’t want to learn should be thrown out instead of dumbing down the process so they can keep up, and make sure that those who do drop out can never receive any kind of welfare or public assistance.
Benard Anambo Litaka says
Now, monetary motivation has never worked well in trying to help students to learn especially when it comes to basic aspects of learning like reading and simple arithmetic. Rhee’s idea or experiments are not good for the cognitive development of the students. The students are supposed to be encourage and develop independent minds for analysis and synthesis not enslavement by use of monetary tokens.
The experiment may work in the short run but immediately the kids make enough money they rush out of class to spent they success(money not education).
Dan McElreavy says
Remember Abe Lincoln? Thomas Jefferson? John Adams? Ben Franklin? George Washington? The most school anyone of the above had was two years. Too much School is the problem. It destroys true education. The average American today couldn’t even read a newspaper from the 18th or 19th century. In colonial times we had 99% literacy rate. That figure went down drastically when forced schooling was brought to America–and it has gone down every single time innovators have added hours to the day and months to the year. Individuals were more thoughtful, caring, conscious, inventive, and free thinking 35,000 years ago than they are today.
Dan McElreavy says
With all the good intentions from innovative people, the high road to you ought to know where by now is getting loads of pavement. More money, more taxes, to make a bigger, dumber system. Read John Taylor Gatto’s “The Underground History of Education in America.” So many great and inspired people try so hard–but what they don’t realize is that the system is succeeding exactly as it was intended to. It was designed to help create everything we see in the culture around us: masses of clever at following directions, obedient, and unquestioning workers–a small class of so-called intellectuals–and the necessary hoodlums to fill the network of gangs working for the CIA owned international drug trade.
Innovation is a great thing in education or any other field for that matter. If paying a child works to at least get them in school—go for it. But I do agree with the thought about those students that make the effort needing equal recognition/ reward. Maybe it should be a reward for completion of the task and not just handed to them. Indiana, if I understand correctly, is in the process of moving in that direction. I believe all students are going to be eligible for 2 years of tuition at a technical school following graduation. I would worry about immediate gratification with payment before the overall task is completed. What keeps a child from still skipping out when the urge hits them. Got my money….now run. Go back tomorrow….You get the picture.
I do like the innovation behind the thought, however!!!
Sounds like we are a conservative bunch of old fashioned country hics. I love it! Can’t envision anything more ripe for graft,greed, and abuse than a mercenary education system. With pornography and condoms being passed out and encouraged, alternate lifestyles and valueless foundations we are a spawining ground for the most ludicrous, disgusting and grotesque. No wonder radical, violent Muslims want to kill and destroy our culture. We better take care of this from within and right soon. Shame on us for letting it get this far along. Back to basics gang, bedrock of Christian values like our forefathers started, a lot of common sense and plenty of discipline. Let’s take back what these liberal yahoos have stolen.
Yes it is good but you should do in in diffrent
place like New York ,India ,China,Nepal
Felton Lovett says
It seems with all the new fangled ‘instruction’ and the ‘feel good’ courses, the kids are being left behind. I have kids in school and the way in which they are learning is abhorent. There seems to be so much focus on subjects on the periphery and not enough on the big 3 (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic). Society is progressing to a place where if there is no instant gratification the effort is not given. Still, maybe this will put a small dent in the dumbing down of America.
I think the idea is rediculous. The only way I would support such a ‘payment for school work’ program would be if the money was put directly into a college program/trust for the children to use ONLY for further educational purposes. Tuition these days is outragous and almost everyone need financial aid to get a college education and then BEGIN their working careers already in debt – No wonder we have a credit crisis. Financial help for post grads is what we need.
Dale Singer says
I think that paying kids to learn is a quick way for education in our country to slide backwards!
Money brings with it so many problems. Who gets how much? Will a kid in D.C. get $100 while a kid in WV gets $20 to do the same thing? What about the kids who can read and do math and do not need after school help? they do not get paid while the kids who have not performed make $$ going to school! Where does it lead us as a nation? Will we not do anything unless we get paid, what about duty and honor as a citizen of the USA?