Friday, June 22, 2007

NYC-paying for grades!!

The New York Times has been reporting on the mayor's plan to begin paying kids for grades and attendance. Educators are up in arms because they want kids to love learning. The program is meant to improve the performance of black and Hispanic students and are part of an overall anti-poverty plan.

Funded by private donations, the program will also pay adults $150 a month for keeping a full-time job and $50 per month for having health insurance. Families can also recieve $50 per month per child for high attendance rates and $25 for attending a parent-teacher conference.

Kids in fourth grade can 'earn' $25 for each PERFECT SCORE on standardized tests and $5 for just taking the test. Seventh graders will get a more cash to show up-I guess seventh graders are worth more money!

The program will launch in 40 schools in primarily lower-income areas.

Ok, the good news is it won't cost me any money and could actually help some people.

I do have issues for encouraging kids to be 'perfect', as in get a perfect score and you will get rewarded. I also have a problem with being rewarded for just showing up. Would I be less skeptical if the program paid for each book read or some other empirical measure that didn't involve being perfect. Maybe. I am not really sure.

What does bother me is the racial implications that poor and minority students can be bought. What bothers me is that no one seems to be addressing the root problem-racial inequality in the schools. Why not pay teachers more? Why not provide more resources? Why not develop a 'pay for behavior' plan that doesn't decimate the kids' self-esteem by making them live up to being 'perfect.'

I am all for encouraging all kids to do well in school but I am not for putting pressure on them to be perfect.

Maybe somewhere in this scheme there is a plan that will work to motivate kids and their parents to achieve great educational heights-but the answer is not in making kids perfect.

Kids have way too much pressure on them already. They don't need anymore.


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