Joe Deshotel, a Texas state lawmaker, filed a bill this week that would create a pilot program designed to pay cash to students at low-performing schools for good grades in core subjects.
Freshmen could earn $50 for each “A,” $35 for each “B,” and $20 for each “C” in English, math, science or social studies. They would get half their money at the end of each grading period and the other half at graduation. They would also receive college and career counseling through the program.
Funding for the bill would come from $6 billion in federal stimulus money the state is planning to use on education.
At first glance, that might seem like a good idea. And I’m sure students are all for it, as are the parents who are already paying their kids for grades. Now they won’t have to foot that bill.
But is it really a good idea?
Some argue that the kids need the incentive. Those on the “pro” side, also say that this helps kids prepare for the working world in which their pay will reflect their effort.
Those on the “con” side believe that education should be on a different level. That kids should learn for the sake of learning. That education is about so much more than performance and test scores and grades that could earn them a few bucks.
This debate has been going on for several years now, and there are other states already using some kind of payment reward for students. There isn’t a consensus about whether it is the best approach or not, and there may never be a consensus.
I’m on the con side of the issue. Where do you stand?