On The New York Times’s op-ed page, William Falk, the editor in chief of The Week magazine, alerts us to some things that happened while our attention was absorbed by the two party conventions (is it necessary to add that we’re talking about “political parties”? not the ones where you get food and drink and generally have a good time talking to interesting people … although this could happen at a (political) party convention, too). His article is here, if you want to read all of it: The Two Weeks You Missed.

In this blog, let me just talk about one of the items that I found really fascinating. Falk reports that the authorities in the District of Columbia (remember: this is where America’s capital – and capitol – are) want to do something about the unusually bad scores of public middle-school students: This fall, the three thousand participants of a pilot program “will be paid for showing up at school, behaving well and getting good grades”.
(Yes. – No, there’s nothing wrong with your eyes.)

The idea of giving students financial incentives is starting to gain traction throughout the nation, with schools in New York City and five states experimenting with cash-for-grades. The district’s schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, says the rationale is simple: “This is exactly what life is about. You get a paycheck every two weeks. We’re preparing children for life.”

I do hope there will be encouraging reports around this time next year. It sounds great – if it is somehow possible to finance “cash-for-grades” (e.g. by using some of the unemployment support that won’t be necessary because more graduates with good qualifications will mean fewer unemployed school leavers or dropouts).

Introduction of such a system here would rob some of the cheeky students of their standard reply. Whenever a teacher tells them: “Why don’t you put more effort in your homework? I prepare my lessons, too” – they say: “Well, you’re being paid for it.”

This entry with proper links: TulgeyWood