"At first, I was a bit reluctant about having our children participate in the program," principal Sheila Richards admitted, "but I felt that if it was something that was going to help us motivate the students that we would try it."
Family Academy is one of 60 New York City public schools that volunteered to participate in the Spark incentive program, which is open to fourth and seventh graders for one school year. The money they earn is deposited into their own bank accounts, but they are free to spend it however they wish.
The Spark program, conceived by Harvard economist Dr. Roland Fryer, was created to narrow the educational gap between the haves and the have-nots. In other words, "trying to figure out a way to make school tangible for kids, to come up with short-term rewards that will be in their long-term best interest," Fryer said.
Spark isn't the only program in the country aimed at motivating kids with monetary incentives. Schools in a dozen states have similar programs. In Albuquerque, N.M., students at the Cesar Chavez Charter School can earn up to $300 a year for good attendance. In Santa Ana, Calif., kids who do well on their math tests can earn up to $250 and in Baltimore, students can take away $110 depending on their test scores.
"This is about making sure that students who might drop out, might not be able to get a high school diploma get it," Dr. Andres Alonso of the Baltimore City school system said. "That's something that is going to have extraordinary, extraordinary implications for a child's life.'
The battle lines are drawn, however, with those who oppose these incentive programs saying schools should concentrate on getting kids engaged in what they're doing, not just how they're doing.
"The idea that poor kids can only be bribed with money rather than being engaged borders on racist," said Alfie Kohn, author of "Punished by Rewards."
Fryer disagrees. "The idea that we shouldn't be giving kids rewards -- come on. In affluent neighborhoods, parents take their kids to dinner, buy them shiny red cars. We've got to get past 'It's wrong, it's bribery.' We are in crisis mode; we're beyond philosophy. If it doesn't work, we're all arguing over nothing."
And what does the research say? Although these specific programs are too new to be evaluated, research on rewarding children for good grades shows that despite short-term gains, it may be detrimental in the long-term by decreasing their motivation, especially when the incentive is removed.
Students, on the other hand, are thrilled to earn the cash and Richards hopes that enthusiasm and sense of accomplishment lasts for a lifetime.
"I think once a child has learned that they can be successful, and they get a taste of success, that they would continue to want to be successful. Now that they're really trying, they see 'This is what I can actually do, and I can actually be successful, and I can get good grades.'"
Boy I wish I was going to school now a days!
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Thread: Paying for Grades??????
02-18-2008, 08:58 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
Paying for Grades??????
02-18-2008, 09:19 AM #2
02-18-2008, 04:37 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2005
As long as my tax dollars don't support it . . ."Yeah, but as I've always said, this country has A.D.D." - Denis Leary
02-19-2008, 02:27 PM #4
Besides, if they are only doing this in one or twos schools in a (likely) predominantly monirity or poor area - why are these people more special?
This would be a racist policy if it were implemented in a wealthy school district or mostly white one.
No ownder the useless buffoons at teh ACLU are not goign to be around on this one. THey are hypocritical - even if it is plainly wrong."Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers
The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.
"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker
"As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry
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