Another Absurdity

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?

4 thoughts on “Another Absurdity”

  1. We already do a lot of that now. We give elementary kids gold stars for performance. Some kids get certificates at school stores for pencils and notebooks, etc. I sort of like the way the honor students were rewarded in my daughter’s high school — she got to go to the middle school and tutor during her off period.

  2. It’s great to reward children for a job well done, but I don’t know if I agree money is the answer … especially the amounts they are giving. I like the ideas Helen gives for rewards. Even a little toy or candy bar is nice, but $50?!! A little extreme, in my opinion.

  3. Here in the UK, teenagers are being given money just to turn up at school after they reach sixteen. I cannot help feeling this is taking them down the wrong road as already we have the culture that if they can collect more in government benefits, they don’t work. As if money is the only factor, and things like work and life experiences count for nothing.
    A newspaper article yesterday featured a family of four with two teenagers demanding more in benefits as they are all too fat to work. They watch TV all day – and have no shame about admitting it – and want more money as their food bill is so high – they claim $35,000 a year in benefits between them now!
    Nowadays being a parasite on society is a life choice!

  4. Anita, your comments reflect exactly why I think paying kids in school starts them on a slippery path. I find it absolutely disgusting that a family like that can get so much in assistance while living like sloths. Shame on them and shame on a society and government that allows that to happen.

    Whew! Guess I have some strong feelings here. Take a deep breath….

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