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Pay for grades is bad idea

Published 8:28am Thursday, April 14, 2011

If one North Carolina legislator has his way, students enrolled in public schools across the state will receive more than gold stars and pizza parties as a reward for their hard work.

State Senator Fletcher Hartsell, a Cabarrus County Republican, has pitched the idea of paying a student $1,000 per year for good attendance, good behavior and, of course, good grades.

Sen. Hartsell’s idea is to pay these students through their senior year in high school. Those getting in on the ground floor, if this proposal makes it through both branches of state government and winds up on the desk of the Governor to sign, stand to gain $12,000.

While Hartsell has good intentions – the most notable of which is to move the state off one of the bottom rungs of the national educational ladder, his proposal is flawed in a number of ways.

One, it sends the wrong message to young students, making cash rewards overshadow the real value of hard work in the classroom, that of it leading to a much larger payday when applying that education in the workplace. Spoiling them with such cash incentives this early in life may result in expecting more down the road.

Secondly, it removes the parents from the equation. If mom and dad readily award their child for excellent results on a report card, that slight monetary gain will pale in comparison to the big bucks the state may offer. It’s the job of the parents to instill core values in their child, not the state’s.

And, lastly, where do you think this “payola” is coming from, not unless Senator Hartsell will dig deep in his pocket to fund the system. The state’s citizens will foot the bill…one that if you do the math on the current 1.4 million schoolchildren across the state at $1,000 per year each adds up to a significant burden on the taxpayers.

Here’s a better idea, invest that money into technology, teachers and school buildings and sit back and watch our young people soar to greater heights without the benefit of pay-offs.

- The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

  1. ladykate

    A little over a year ago, a study on education was published. The study focused on how to improve student achievement in traditionally weak districts. There were six sites total in the study. I don’t remember all of the details of four of the sites, but they used some kind of incentive, punishment, or extra time in school (longer days, weekends) to try to increase student achievement. The two sites that showed the most growth – The two districts that used cash incentives. Less effective was paying students the incentive based on letter grades. The researchers found that students often felt this was outside of their control, so many of the lowest performing students simply gave up on getting the incentive and worked less. However, paying students based on how many books they read dramatically increased student performance at all levels. Students felt in control of the incentive and it made them practice a skill that is ESSENTIAL to all other subjects (reading increases and reinforces vital background knowledge, increases attention spans, helps prepare students for standardized tests where they have to read for long periods, etc.). They also didn’t have to pay them much to have this huge effect. It was only something like $2 per book. So I think the Senator’s heart is in the right place, but perhaps his plan needs some retuning to focus on literacy.

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  2. nlee1

    Paying a child for good grades! Are you serious? How about this, you get good grades in school, attend school every day and do not get into any trouble…and I will let you LIVE! I would give the governor 12,000 for her to file this stupid idea of a bill in the round file (garbage can) as soon as it gets on her desk. Where is the incentive for a child to make it out on his or her own. What will happen to these kids in the real world….the one where yo go to work and sometimes your pay does not automatically match your work load. This is like a parent paying a child to clean their room and take out the trash. Kids ar SUPPOSE to clean their room and take out the TRASH. To my child as their parent, I am SUPPOSE to supply them a room and hopefully have trash for them to take out. Paying a child for doing what they are suppose to be doing I DISAGREE with and really disappointed with the easting of time it took to come up with this idea. So, each child could potentially get 12,000. Well this money may be better spent getting a couple of extra teachers or assistants. Sen Hartsell does not have any good intentions…he needs an MRI. I would never give my child a 1,000. If the state pull this one off….my child will have access to my 1,000 through taxes. WHAT! Are you serious. Is it a possiblity that one day my child could be walking around with thousands of dollars in his or her pockets and I will still have to feed and clothes them…and take their crap. Homey don’t think so….. Go back to the drawing board on this one. Do not interfere with the relationship between me and my child…..If I went to the state and somehow needed 1,000 to help with the raising of my child…I would get the Child Protective Services on my hide instead…. So listen up State, don’t go away mad…just go away. If anyone gave my child 1,000 he would want to buy a thousand dollars worth of candy… Which brings me to another point….I would have to explain to my child why he had to save the money and not spend it….I do not want to have this converstion with a person that do not understand that if he ran the water in the bathtub with the plug in…the bathtub will overflow.

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