questionsdo you think we (taxpayers) should pay kids to go…

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For it to fully work though, I think you'd need to have some requirements as to what classes the students need to take. Also, schools that refuse to teach evolution, and tell kids abstinence is the only way to have safe sex should have to pay a fine in the system i have going on in my head. That's just pie in the sky dreaming on my part though.

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As a teacher I am very against this practice. Firstly teachers want students to be intrinsically motivated, meaning that students get good grades because they want to get good grades. Money will extrinsically motivate students (external factor), thus even though they may be getting better grades, that doesn't mean that they are learning more...Secondly, if anyone is aware of the current state of our education system, there is NO WAY that there would be funding for this, at all. I personally believe that there is already too much national government intervention in the school system anyway and something like this would just give the federal government more push in the education system (i.e. no child left behind, the bane of every school district ever). Even if these students were paid for better grades this doesn't insure that the students will actually retain any of this information. There are way too many factors that would need to be considered for this to even be plausible.

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I also noticed that you mentioned this would be good, in theory. In the education world, there is a huge gap between theory and what actually happens. Do I want all of my students to come to class, follow directions, learn and retain information, and test out well...yes. Does this happen? No. This reminds me of an interesting little line, correlation doesn't imply causation.

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This is not a good idea...at all.

The worst part is it would increase cheating and attempted cheating by a lot. It's all for the grade, who cares about the knowledge? Kids would think: I want the money NOW!

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NO, education should be a privilege to which all are entitled not a right to be abused.

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No, you should do well in school because you want to make something of your life, not because someone will give you a handout.

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Put the money into a college or trade school savings account and they aren't allowed to withdraw it until they need to pay for tuition, in which case it goes directly to the school. Fail or dropout...it gets funneled back to pay for other's kids accounts.

Not saying it is realistic, but if we were doing it, that's how I hope the money would work. Also, after a while this would just become the norm and we'd probably see numbers slide back to what they are now.

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I think that it's a good idea in theory, but there are better ways to make it happen. If the government stopped using standardized tests as the basis for how well schools do, then teachers would more likely be motivated to teach the kids things rather than have them memorize the content that's gonna show up on those tests. Also, in higher up schools (high school and even college) they should take away tenure, or at least revise the system so that teachers wouldn't work hard their first ten years and then just not give a crap. I'm not saying they shouldn't have any protection, but when it's nearly impossible to fire you, most people don't really care about doing a good job anymore.

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@meh3884: I really like that idea, The whole cheating thing makes sense, and that would be a big problem people scamming the system. if the money could only be used towards bettering yourself in school, that would make the whole process make more sense and be even better. I agree you should go to school to better yourself, but it would be nice to get help on that 60,000 dollar tuition.

I agree it will never happen, but it seems like something that could work (of course, government would find a way to mess it up and make it cost 10,000 dollars to give each kid 1000 dollars :P)

@captainsuperdawg: Yeah, Bad teachers are also a big problem, it's sad the young excited teachers are the first one to leave, when the old bored teachers are waiting for retirement. Obviously this is extreme examples, but it really is like that in some places. It's really a shame...

Anyways, thanks for all the response guys!

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@studerc: There's interesting evidence that intrinsic motivation is not nearly as powerful as integrated motivation when it comes to required activities that aren't always fun; rewarding students in the early stages of their "career" so that the external motivation of working for a reward becomes part of one's self-image by college seems like an extension of that idea. I agree with your preference that learning be intrinsically motivated, but the longer that I work within an SDT framework, the more I believe that it's unrealistic to expect that education should be intrinsically motivated. As one example, autonomy is the basic need most closely linked to intrinsic motivation; how can a setting in which students have little or no control, consistently face deadlines/grading/parental pressure/college apps possibly center on intrinsic motivation? (As I said before, I believe integrated motivation leads to more consistent academic/career success, so I don't think that's a bad thing.)

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BTW, Freakonomics did an interesting podcast about this subject; it's one of their short podcasts (6:12). I certainly think it's unrealistic and impractical to implement a "pay for good school performance" program on a large scale, but it seems to increase attendance and grades in communities where parental involvement is lower than one might like. My parents steadfastly refused to reward me for, well, anything - because the reward should be in the doing - and as an adult, I find that doesn't match the real world very well.

I'm not sure if I would give my kids a cash reward, but I do believe accomplishments should be celebrated, so perhaps a good report card will mean choosing a favorite meal for dinner, or a cake, or a day trip to a favorite amusement park, something like that. Anyone who is actually a parent have any experience with those types of rewards? Does it work at all?

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I was always jealous of peers who told me their parents paid them for "A's" but they still didn't try very hard to get good grades. On the other hand, I was a straight-A student and got nothing in monetary value.

In theory, it seems pretty nice. In practice, only a handful of students would care - just like it is already.

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@neuropsychosocial: The movie Freakonomics says it works.
I think it would have worked for me, I was late to realize the importance of good grades. I went from D- average my first 2 years of high school (all D-'s doing enough to get credit) To 'A' honor roll my last 2.

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Interesting article, but something tells me that it's more akin to giving an 8th grader a job. I don't see it happening.

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No. We should STOP giving money to people who refuse to do well in school (and end up on welfare).

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I would pay my kid extra just to have his room clean on a regular basis

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@neuropsychosocial: My parents took us out to eat if we got good report cards. I'm not sure how good it worked, we always got good report cards and I'm not sure if it was at all in anticipation of the dinner. I do remember that there was a couple of times my brother's grades got sketchy in a few classes, but he still came on the dinner outing - there was a discussion about it though. I was and am extremely intrinsically motivated, somewhat to do with how I was raised and some I think is just my overall personality - so I am poor example as well.

As to how I'd raise my children, I already spoil my granddaughter (I skipped to grand kids, long story for another time) - but I definitely won't be paying for grades (neither will her mom). I imagine it will be something to the effect of a special outing or new book/movie as a reward with specific guidelines setup as to what to do to reach the reward. She is only starting preschool this year.

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Interesting article. Flawed in logic, IMO. But thought (& debate) provoking. And no, I don't want to explain nor debate why I consider it 'flawed logic*. ;-)

Would I, the taxpayer, be willing to pay students for doing something they should do? Absolutely not. If parents wish to reward their OWN children w/money - fine. And if some parents can't afford to reward their children in $$s...too bad. That's the way it is in real life. There are also parents who can afford it & choose not to. I agree w/them.

Take some of that tax money we're already paying and make the schools better. Remove some of the 'Teaching to the Test' garbage that goes on now. Let the teachers teach subjects. An aside:I find it sad that the U.S. is so behind other countries in the education field. Not certain, but will venture to say other countries do not pay their students to attend school. (If I'm wrong on that point, I do not care.)

If the above was TL;DR my answer is NO. ;-)

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@gmwhit: Thanks for saying what I couldn't get my brain to say. I was in deep thought over this.

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I think there are two sides to this conversation.

In a situation where the parent is active in the child's daily life and supports the school in whatever way they can, you probably don't need it. If the parent supports and respects teh school, the child is likely to do so as well. The child also needs the same support from their surroundings - the neighborhood, peers, extended family. If all these are in place, the child shouldn't need the extra motivation. My son was one of the least motivated kids I've ever come across. He was not motivated to do well to please a parent or teacher. He still did well and he knew that his first job was school. If he fell below our expectations, then he lost other privileges (videogames, tv, etc.).

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HOWEVER, there are many children in our country that don't have the daily support of their parents in their lives and whose parents don't support or respect the school system. For these children, bribes/payment may be an external motivator that helps them succeed. In many cases, it's helping them to achieve more so they can escape the path of their parents, neighborhood, or extended family.

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@thunderthighs: I hear what you're saying...but do not agree. There are children that have total support from their parents. Some of them are excellent in school. Some are not. The same is true of those who have no support - some succeed, some fail.

I firmly believe that paying a child to do something that should be automatic is not a motivator...and would fail. IMO, It would also instill false values. Have so many related thoughts on this... too many adults feel that they're entitled to receive money/benefits that they don't earn. Earn being the key word. But I digress.

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I read that article as well.

Nope. I completely disagree with paying children to go to school. I think that paying for their food/shelter/clothing/medical care/activities/etc is their payment. As adults in the real world, you don't get those things just for existing. You have to work for the basics and work harder/smart/know-the-right-person-er for anything above and beyond.

Perhaps if we ingrained a sense of self worth and not of entitlement - this wouldn't be an issue.

steps off soap-box

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@gmwhit: I don't believe in it for my child. However, I've worked in schools with children from very different backgrounds that don't get the message from home that school is important. They don't see any different path for their future. I think in some cases some method of enticement can help those kids. It gives them something that they can see and hold. And for some, something they can understand.

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@thunderthighs: Again, I do hear what you're saying...but disagree w/the entire premise of paying children to do something that is currently paid for by our taxes. You said that you didn't "believe in it for your child." You also mentioned that in "some cases some method of enticement can help..." And "for some, something they can understand." I agree w/you on those points.

Do NOT agree that this should become a tax burden that would unilaterally pay children to attend school/get good grades. It sends the wrong message. And would be a total nightmare to administrate. More governmental control; more taxes. With little, if any, benefit.

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@gmwhit: What's the difference between using tax money now to help the kids better themselves or using tax money later if they're in jail or on welfare?

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@thunderthighs: You're assuming it would work. I'm assuming it would NOT work. Paying children to attend school is wrong. I do not believe it's a motivater. I also do not believe that it would be a deterrent to keep any child out of jail or to end up collecting welfare.

Once again, it's sending the wrong message - we'll pay you to do something you have not earned. Easy, free money. As Thumperchick said - entitlement. IMO, that's a big part of what's wrong w/our society today. And starting that at an early age...absurd.

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@gmwhit: I get the sense of entitlement and I agree that many in our society have it in many different forms. It's really disturbing and almost frightening.

I still hold though that it can (and has) work if done properly.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-01-27-grades_N.htm

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@thunderthighs: Thank you for the article...interesting. Yes, there has been some success. Also noted: "In most cases, the efforts are funded privately through corporate or philanthropic donors." And, of course, there are naysayers, the same as myself. Basically for the same reasons.

The question that @cowboydann posed was (paraphrased)...Would you, as a taxpayer, be willing to pay for this. My answer was NO; it remains the same.

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I would also add that it has been shown that -not- paying the kid has worked FAR more cases than those who have been paid. Raise your hand if you went through the public school system without cash in your pocket from tax-payers, and still managed to get some good grades? Right, exactly.

Children have one purpose on this planet, and that is to learn the culture they have been placed in. For this culture, that is done through school more and more, and interaction with parents less and less. That is a shame, it is, but it works for the majority.
Also, keep in mind, U.S. students start falling behind the rest of the world at Middle school level, about the time when teaching for the test really hits. K-5, our children score pretty highly amongst the world; it just after that point that we simply stop learning. Paying the kids would do nothing but teach them to expect government hand-outs for basic things. And sorry, but I really prefer not to prove morons like Romney right.

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Also wanted to add, that there is another glaring reason this would fail: dumbing down the schools. Not just in what they teach, but by the percentage that it takes to earn a grade. All my grades would be one letter grade up if I was judged by today's scale. 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79 = C, 60-69 = D, 0-59 = F? Are you kidding?
How about putting the scale back where not everyone could sleep through class and get an A. 94-100 = A, 85-93 = B, etc. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but if the grades keep sliding, soon it will be 80-100 for an A, and then if you just aren't a corpse, you qualify for an A.

So again, pay the students? Talk about that after you make school slightly difficult. I have taught in the school system, even if on a temp basis, and the stuff being taught was so overly simple that getting grades do not deserve tax-payer funded encouragement to the students.

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No pay for attending or grades. You can't fix America's academic problem with more money.

School is already paid for by the public. It is there for every child to take advantage of or not. If they choose to not do so they limit themselves long term. Every kid in school hears this all the way through school. Some choose to listen and work hard and some chose to do mediocre work and some flat out don't care.

The problem in the US is cultural and can't be fixed with money. Families either value education or they don't and their kids either will or won't. And even within one family that values education you can have some kids that are motivated and some that aren't.

Children in other countries out achieve US kids without financial incentive and while taking harder courses.

In a nutshell, you can't make a kid care about education simply by paying them. This will end up as just another entitlement program.

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I would rather see the reward be prestige. If I am going to wave a magic wand, it would be to make scholarly achievement be something every adult extolls and every kid aspires to. Instead of the football players and cheerleaders being the most admired kids in school, it would be the honor roll kids. I'd like to see the dad as proud of his son for being valedictorian as for making a winning touchdown. A mom as proud of her daughter for winning a science fair as for being a beauty queen. I'd like to see us value our children's minds and hearts over their athleticism and physical appearance. But I think anti-intellectualism is on the rise in this country, so it would take a magic wand to make it happen.

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Okay time for a students take on the issue, I am a junior that goes to a Wisconsin high-school, I am below the poverty level, my house has rescently burnt down. And I work after school everyday till about 1030, do I always try my hardest in school, no I have a 2.9 GPA and I don't always try my hardest, the last thing I want to do after work is do homework, however I believe with this little extra incentive I might consider staying up that little bit extra to finish those extra math problems, btw my parent are both dropouts so no motivation there