Kids Get Paid to Learn
Thu Sep 6 2007
Can’t get your kids to buckle down and study? Here's a suggestion: allow the New York City Department of Education to pay them to do so. The Department of Ed has presented a pilot program they hope will encourage students in their academic pursuits. Students who achieve high scores on 10 tests (administered throughout the next year) will receive anywhere from $100 to $500 as a reward.
While this money may save parents a few extra bucks in the toy store, The New York Times reports that the proposition is being met with significant parental opposition. Many parents condemn the affects of this type of bribery, calling it a recipe for disaster.
Only students belonging to low-income families will be eligible to participate in the program. As a result, children with less money will be rewarded for lower grades, while the others will receive nothing more than a pat on the back for getting straight A’s.
Perhaps someone should remind the NYC Department of Education that it is extremely difficult for most children to deal with inequalities. Children on the losing end of the deal may actually wind up scoring lower on tests because they know that despite the outcome, they will not be receiving a reward as large as their classmates.
Many New York City parents believe that there is much work to be done in their local school systems but this may not be the way to begin improvement. They fear that when the rewards cash supply dry up, so will their children's drive. Most wish for their kids' ambition to be based upon love of learning and an appreciation of the long-term benefits of a solid education.
Large cash rewards may be excessive, but a trip to a favorite restaurant or a small toy seems to be agreed upon by parents as an appropriatep prize for a good report card. Perhaps the Department of Education should leave these matters in the hands of parents and focus upon instilling strong educational values into their young learners earlier.