Pay for grades is bad idea

Published 8:28 am 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