Thursday, June 21, 2007


"In a move that has gained nation-wide attention, New York City officials announced on Monday the details of an anti-poverty program that will offer, amongst other things, cash incentives to low-income students with good grades and classroom attendance."

I can't even begin to speak to what is wrong with this. On so many levels this is disturbing and wrong. It is also just a band-aid and an turning a blind eye to the real problem. Mayor Bloomberg is serious about ending poverty. Well $50 a month is really not going to do it. What lesson is this teaching our children and our parents. I know we all get paid to go to work, etc. But paying students for attending school when it is the law just seems ridiculous. Getting parents to be involved is just wrong. Just because these parents show up to get their $25 bucks doesn't mean they will all of a sudden decided after years that they want to be involved in their child's education. So many of our impoverished parents don't come or participate in school events, not because they don't see it as important or because they don't care what their child is up to, but because they have limited time. They can't take off work. They have other children to take care of too.

I just don't understand the idea behind this. Many of our poorer students don't attend school because they don't see the benefit or because their parents don't. Paying them money isn't going to make them value education any more than they do or don't now.

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

KHS said...

Maybe their thought is that if they get paid for their grades, they will treat it like a job. . . it's hard to have homework compete with income to pay for food. Even if it's not much, it's something. And if it gets kids to study more and prepare them better to qualify to earn a college degree, then that seems to benefit them and their families. . . You're right that poor families aren't unsupportive, they are just tired. But maybe a little bit of money helps arrange priorities a bit? We don't balk at colleges awarding scholarships for good grades. Even if that's not cash in pocket, it's loans saving which is cash in pocket down the line.

And just because the law says you have to go to school doesn't mean we shouldn't provide other incentives to get kids there, especially what with competing interests (like a job) these days-- I mean, at least the mayor isn't offering money for attendance; at least it's tied to achievement. Of course, I haven't read any of the plan's details, so I may be wrong.

I can't say I'll pay my kids for getting good grades. But I don't think it's unequivocably wrong, either-- I know that in behavior modification with our son, we started out rewarding him with things he should be doing already, and then once the habits were formed, pulled back on the rewards. That's how we got him toilet trained, and how we got him into a morning routine. The key is in helping people establish good habits-- and in that sense, I can't say with certainty that it's wrong . . .

Karen in San Diego