1/29/08 Marc’s thoughts on today’s show


Dr. Andres Alonso at noon

Paying kids to do well on tests?!?!?!?!?!?!?

My first visceral reaction was no way.  This is antithetical to what we all believe, that we should instill an intrinsic love of education. 

Dr. Andres Alonso, CEO of Baltimore City Schools, is going to spend a million dollars, in part to pay kids in the 11th and 12th grade who failed one of the High School Assessment tests, if they improve their scores on future tests.   They will receive up to $110.00, depending on how much their scores improve.  Money will also be used to pay students to tutor other students.

Some would argue, like Dan Rodricks, that middle and upper class families always bribe their kids with cash, dinner and objects of desire if they do well in school.  What is wrong with the city doing it for unmotivated kids also mired in poverty?

Others argue it is a quick fix and a bribe that hides real issue of why students don’t have an intrinsic love of learning and why they lose in our schools.

Is it a bad idea?  Looking forward to hearing what Dr. Alonso has to say.  Looking forward to what you have to say on air and on our blog.


I was not amazed when I first heard that there was wholesale ethnic cleansing of African Americans from towns across America.  I was shocked when I found out that it occurred well into the depression era of the 1930’s.

One of our guests, Marco Williams, recently made the movie Banished.  It’s about the interactions of three Black families, who were descendents of the banished, and white people now living in those towns.  

The issue of the day will be to find out what relevance this has on our lives now.  The Germans paid reparations to the Jews who survived the camps, the US paid reparations to the Japanese Americans and the descendents of those interned in camps during World War II.  Should the US do the same for those who are the descendents of those African Americans ethnically cleansed from their homes?

Is it different because these are descendents of rather than the victims themselves?  Is monetary reparation the only possibility?  Does this give us as a society a chance for some reconciliation?  Is it just history, something for us to learn about and then let go?

What do you think?  Call in or write in at one, or comment on the blog.
Check with you later.


2 Responses

  1. is this why Marc is off the air? does it have to do with the fact that he exposes the kind of dumbed down city officials and their incompetence?

  2. Marc,

    I have been a school social worker in both baltimore city and baltimore county for the past 10 years….

    While I need to think a bit more about actually paying students CASH …. I’d like to offer this perspective.

    When I was in the City I worked at a school for students with developmental disabilities. The entire school was build around a token economy system. The school gave me money to stock a large school store of items ranging from pencils to sticker, to footballs, to cameras. The student could earns “points” and were given poker chips which they turned in.. .They could either either buy items each week or save up for larger items; thier tallies were kept in a ledger.

    Baltimore County now has a system wide program called PBIS… (Positive behavior Intervention system)
    Students earn “gotchas” when they engage is identified positive behaviors… They can then turn these in for prizes or turn them in for raffles. Part of my job is to elnist the support of businesses to give us donations and gift cards…. At times we actually give out gift cards… other times we buy items such as ipods which they are eligible to win….

    So while we may not “freely give out cash” we certainly do reward positive behaviors(including improved academic perforance with material items…

    Michael Derry, LCSW-C

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