Friday, September 07, 2007

School as Business?

The new head of schools in New York City is an economist, not an educator named Roland Fryer, a founder of the American Inequality Lab. His bold new plan is to pay students -- in some low income, low performing schools -- for attending school, earning perfect scores on tests, and for taking the PSAT exams. I think this is a terrible idea and wrote an essay for NPR on the topic (I'm an occasional contributor to the show 848). The essay aired on 9/5/07. Here's a LINK if you'd care to listen.

9 comments:

Elizabeth L said...

I think that this is also a horrible idea. School is a privlege and is a right to have, you shouldnt be paid to go to school. This has never been done before and shouldnt even be taken into account. Kids have their entire life to have a job and work hard to be paid but at an age when you are still developing and gaining an education, there is no reason why money is involved.
In our world today, money is such an issue and i think that this is sending an awful message, that we AMERICANS are holding rewards of MONEY infrount of kids to do well in school. Students should gain enthusiasm, confidence, pride and hold honesty on their own for their work they accomplished. An adult doesnt have to bribe anyone, so more teenagers do well-because they will not succeed when they hit the real world, because it is filled with alot of work and no rewards.
Overall, i think it is sad that a principle of a school in a city as big as New york to have an idea like this.

Bolos said...

Great tirade, Elizabeth. Although it sounds horrible from the standpoint of our school and community, imagine what it must be like in other parts of the country and state, where attendance rates have been dismal for decades. Imagine the desperation to even consider such a solution.

And it's closer than we think. Check out this article from the Chicago Sun-Times (http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/548372,CST-NWS-skul09.article) which is about how CPS (Chicago Public Schools) is raffling off cars, vacations, rent, concert tickets, etc. in order to get kids to come to school every day!

Can we brainstorm any better solutions?

Josh said...

I agree with both of you guys completely. I feel that schools should not have to bribe students.

However though nothing will get a kids attention like material possestions, offereing classes that spark the intrest of a student will do wonders for them. If your actually interested in what you are learning, it is my experience that you relate the information and it sticks better to you. I also feel that i do better in a certian class when the teacher is someone i can relate to and share a common ground with. In a large grouping of public schools in the largest city in the country, the system might have trouble finding deticated teachers for every single class. They could preform compltibility tests to see which teachers match up best to the students.

Carly M said...

I think you all have very valid points, but one thing to think about is that some of these kids may have no choice but to not go to school. If they live in very low income families or if one or both of their parents have passed away, they may be partially responsible, finantially, for their families. I am sure this does not apply to all of the children not attending school, but some of these teens may have jobs instead of school and are the reason their families' have food on their table. So in those circumstances, giving these kids money to go to school my ABLE them to go to school.

Bernadette.Brandt said...

I've heard of the idea of paying kids for perfect attendance. My fifth grade teacher previously taught at a school where if you did not miss any school for one year, they paid you $100. Speaking from experience, she told us that it was a terrible idea and stirred up all sorts of problems. It created competition between the students. Also students were so determined to win the money, they routinely came to school sick. The whole situation was not beneficial for the students, the teachers or the learning atmosphere. I am definately against this idea.

Sara D said...

I also completely disagree with this idea. I understand the fact that they want to encourage kids to attend school and in addition do well in school, but I don't think this is a good way to go about doing so. I agree with Josh in the fact that they should make classes that spark the interest of students more. Interesting cirrculum and field trips would be a much better way to spend the schools money than simply just giving it to the kids. In addition, I was wondering, isn't this going to increase taxes for the surroundig area. Not to generalize, but the area that is giving the money to attend school sounds like an area that is not as well-off as somewhere like the North Shore. Can the city afford to do this?

Agretch said...

Unlike the rest of you I really agree with this idea. Yes, school is supposed to be a privlege and is something that you choose to do...or to not do, but i think that these areas of extreme poverty call for extreme measures. I think that since these kids do need money, they will be very encouraged to now come ot school, and because not only do they get money for good attendance, but they get money for good grades, they will actually of their own will try harder to get good grades. It's a very extreme idea but i think that in such an extreme place it could definitely work.

Stephanie H said...

I think it could be a good idea, but could work badly at the same time... School is soupposed to be this wonderful thing where people learn and knowledge is a good thing.. Well really all school does for us is the person who succeeds is the one who tries to memorize everything for the test. It's not like the people who are really smart and just don't really try in school get the good grades; they have better things to worry about; they already aced the ACT without having to take any prep courses or anything.
Paying students at least gives them motivation, but makes the competition even more fierce.

kathy said...

This is Kathy, Josh's mom. I actually heard the origional piece on NPR and later printed it off to have a discussion at home with our 3 kids. (I didn't know at the time that this was one of my sons teachers)The message was one that we had been discussing previously. We had previously rewarded our children for good grades on report cards only to be hypocritical when saying we don't care about the grades as long as you are learning the material. we were sending mixed messages. By Paying for grades you are depriving your kids from learning that if feels good to achieve because they can. Not everyone has axcess to an education. Our kids need to learn the lessons of goal setting, work and reward,but not with mom and dads guilt paying the way. kids need to know that learning is the reward. thanks for reminding us all of that important lesson.