Next Question: Can Students Be Paid to Excel?

Discussion in 'Education' started by Shogun, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Shogun
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    The fourth graders squirmed in their seats, waiting for their prizes. In a few minutes, they would learn how much money they had earned for their scores on recent reading and math exams. Some would receive nearly $50 for acing the standardized tests, a small fortune for many at this school, P.S. 188 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

    When the rewards were handed out, Jazmin Roman was eager to celebrate her $39.72. She whispered to her friend Abigail Ortega, “How much did you get?” Abigail mouthed a barely audible answer: $36.87. Edgar Berlanga pumped his fist in the air to celebrate his $34.50.

    The children were unaware that their teacher, Ruth Lopez, also stood to gain financially from their achievement. If students show marked improvement on state tests during the school year, each teacher at Public School 188 could receive a bonus of as much as $3,000.

    more..

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/nyregion/05incentive.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin
     
  2. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    I know there's going to be some premature condemnation of this programme but if it's an experiment and if it works then it may have something going for it.
     
  3. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    I've thought about this (since it's been raised before). And I've decided it's not a good idea. There are things we have to do because it's our responsibility. If you want to give incentives, they shoud be of the type normally associated with school.

    Kids shouldn't get paid for doing what they HAVE to.
     
  4. Gem
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    I think there is something to be said for telling children, "Getting an education is your job, therefore we will reward you for performing at your job."

    Here are just a few issues I have it from an educator's standpoint:

    - Students who do not achieve at first will, instead of being motivated to do better, will give up and stop performing altogether. This is the "its better to be the 'bad kid who mouths off and doesn't do homework' than the dumb kid in class" idea that teachers see everyday. This happens frequently in schools now, and I think that attaching money to achievement could make it much, much worse.

    - Competition among higher-achieving students could reach dangerous levels. Those students already compete over GPA and class rank...to the point of fights and hysteria (take a look at the girl who just realized that the 99% on her senior project means that she is not going to be valedictorian for an example of this).

    - Due to class arrangement, sometimes some teachers end up with students who are more capable of higher achievement. Will they always earn more than their counterparts who are working with students who struggle more? How will you make it even?



    I could go on...as a teacher we discuss this issue (and similar ideas, like merit pay) OFTEN and at GREAT LENGTH. And as I said...while I think there is something to be said for rewarding students for their hard work...I think that this system brings with it a lot of difficult questions.
     
  5. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    Are we going to tax these earnings?

    If so, we will be sending a message to the budding young capitalists to not do well as it will only cost them more.

    Personally, I like the idea as long as it is local and not federal.
     
  6. Shogun
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    I posted this because of the last conversation I had with Bern about motivating students. Truthfully, in an effort to prepare kids for adulthood in our modern society I can't fathom how we tell kids that they just SHOULD achieve in school while the same idea would be totally laughable to an adult who expects compensation. We don't have as stark of a social difference between the uneducated and the educated anymore. This isnt 1808 where a little booklearnin' goes a long way. It's really no different than any other incentive program except that it introduced the value of money and exposes kids to the same responsibility that they will be expected to perform by a mere 5 years later.


    I applaud the people trying an incentive program like this rather than merely demonizing schools.


    also, what does "normally associated with school" mean anyway? Are book it pizza's normally associated with schools? I guarentee more kids cut their teeth reading just to put another gold star on their book it pin than did reading because that is what they are "supposed to do".
     
  7. manifold
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    I think it's an idea worth exploring.

    But if they really want to help prepare these young students for the real world, then those students who don't qualiify for the cash reward should get a fistful of foodstamps. :D
     
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  8. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I'm all for 'rewarding' though I'm not quite sure if money is the route to go. I have students whose parents will give them $100 for each 'A', no joke. What seems to happen is that the student becomes much more concerned with the number of words/length of papers, not working with others, arguing point by point why they should receive more credit, etc.

    On the other hand, when parents and teachers commend kids for work well done, including 'stickers or a smiley face', the students seem more motivated to stretch themselves. It's one of the things I focus on during 'middle school' open house with parents.
     
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  9. Shogun
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    becomes much more concerned with the number of words/length of papers, not working with others, arguing point by point why they should receive more credit, etc.


    Wouldn't this be where teachers come into play though? 500 words of crap still gets graded, eh? I'd imagine that the attention put into getting as much money as possible is exactly what is being harvested above.
     
  10. Annie
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    I think I made my opinion clear. Of course 500 words of 'crap' gets a bad grade, though the 'money' kids fail to get it and then want to argue their nonsense. Worse yet, their parents come in or call and say that their kid was 'told' that it should be X length, regardless.

    I learned years ago to say length had to be, 'long enough' to make your point. I usually add, 'no longer than...', I really hate reading more than 1.5 pages from middle school writing. :cool:
     

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