Schools Pay Students for a Job Well Done

June 16, 2008 06:01 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
In an effort to encourage students to work harder, some schools are rewarding kids for getting good grades, improving their attendance and taking extra time to learn.

30-Second Summary

Educators around the United States are testing how financial incentives factor into academic performance by rewarding students with real or pretend money for good grades.

Critics have blasted the idea, saying students should want to learn for the sake of learning. For now, teachers contend, they’re simply trying to motivate kids to study. Eventually, they say, students will work hard because they want to, not because there are rewards.

Many “cash-for-performance” programs are privately funded, and are particularly advantageous in schools with student populations coming primarily from low-income minority groups.

Students with parents who pay them for good grades and have more opportunities to see the benefits of education are more likely to attend college and secure good jobs, according to a USA Today blog. For those with more destructive role models or poorer economic conditions, chances aren’t as high.

Getting paid for good grades may significantly improve academic performance, said Bridget Gutierrez in a blog for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, Gutierrez questioned whether cash would “also determine whether kids learn the value of an education.”

These education incentive programs are drawing attention at a time when politicians are seriously examining the future of the No Child Left Behind law, which was designed to help improve academic performance in schools.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama has expressed that, if elected, he would likely push for some reforms of the law.

Headline Links: Cash for grades

Opinion & Analysis: Thoughts on Paying Students for Good Grades

Related Topic: No Child Left Behind's last act

Reference: Education resources


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