1/29/08 Dr. Andres Alonso and paying kids to perform

Did your parents ever give you an incentive to perform well in school?  As in, raise your grades and we’ll raise your allowance?  Or, keep a certain GPA and we’ll take you on a vacation?  Mine did.  Freshman year of college my mom wouldn’t let me take my car to the campus first semester-and I wasn’t allowed to bring it second semester unless I got a certain GPA.  I worked pretty hard to make sure I hit that GPA mark–I needed my car to escape campus every once in awhile.

We all know that lots of parents do this.  But when the actual school system gets involved, we get very uncomfortable about the idea of learning having a cash/material reward system.  We want education to be pure-for students to be motivated by a love of learning-to learn for learning’s sake.  But do we need to do a reality check? Do we need to abandon our high ideals and take a look at what is really going on, and maybe adopt a method that stems from a harm-reduction philosophy? 

That’s what we’re talking about today at noon, with Dr. Andres Alonso, live and in studio.  Join us!

Poll:  What do you think about Dr. Andres Alonso’s idea that the school system pay students who improve their test scores?


One Response

  1. A quick comment– I wrote in and Marc read my email. It said the following regarding payment for good grades:

    “My point is that this comes back to the parents. No amount of pandering, good scores on arbitrary standardized tests, or cash in the pockets of sixteen-year-olds is going to replace ten school years of undisciplined education.
    Many teachers tell me the same complaints: There is no in-school suspension, so suspending a student for bad behavior is just giving them a day off. There aren’t enough textbooks, teachers are buying their own paper and photocopies at Kinko’s. Students run wild in the
    halls, disrespecting teachers and one another.

    How is paying students for good grades going to address the larger lack of discipline and resources that these students see each day?”

    Dr. Alonso proceeded to say that my story about not being paid for grades was “anecdotal evidence” and go on again about throwing out students. He did not, however, answer my question. So I state it again:

    How is this initiative to pay students for achievement around their 11th year of education going to address the larger lack of discipline in these students’ lives? How can the system affect parental or guardian involvement? Is there enough money to buy books and computers for Baltimore schools? I want to know.

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