School reward system. how fair is it?

Kristina - posted on 09/14/2011 ( 145 moms have responded )

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okay.. so im knew to this..but i have a question. the school that my kids go to have a reward system which i think is great. at the end of the quarter the kids who meet the requirements go to an end of the quarter movie. when i first heard abt this, i thought okay this should be no problem. my children do not have behavioral issues. they go to school and they're on time. they do all home work assignments/ all projects given by their teachers and do well in school.. this year, might prove to be a bit of a challenge for my oldest. the teacher is a faster paced teacher and my child is not a fast paced kid. but working hard to keep up. Anyhow.. there are 5 goals my child has to meet. my child will have no problem completing the 3 of 5 goals. I have issues with the last two goals which my child and others have to meet which is 5 100% on spelling test and 5 100% reading comprehension test. I really have a hard time with this. Not every child can do this, even at their best. I think the expection level is way too high. to me, this is like saying sorry, you did your best, but it wasn't good enough and therefore you can not go to the movies.. it's crushing to think that. And it is still very early. my child may surprise me.. don't know but to me, it's just the idea that this can't be right. there should be (IMO) other goals for those children who can not master the 100%. Attainable goals, they can reach and master so they also have the chance to go to the movies with the rest of the school. so is this fair? Or am I just complaining mother who need to move on? I do plan on speaking w/my childs teacher - eventually. working up the nerve and I do not want to offend her.

My kids are good students..but for my oldest, who does try but has to work harder than the younger sibling. And so far my oldest has already missted 2 on the first spelling test because he capitalized two words, but spelt all the words correctly.. *sigh*

anyhow.. just looking for opinions. TY

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JuLeah - posted on 09/14/2011

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We seldom set the goal too high. More often we set the goal too low. In both cases, kids usually reach said goal.



Don't assume your kid can't. Yes, it might take more effort for him then another; spelling comes easy for some.



But, let him put in the effort if he wants the reward



Odds are, he can do it.



Don't worry about offending your child's teacher. Speak with respect as you would to any human. She wants to hear from you. She cares about your kid too.



I don't like the system of every kid getting a reward when some work hard and others don't.



Like each kid on the team gets a ... whatever they hand out. I don't like it. It lessens the honor of doing well.



If your son actually busts his butt for this, never wavers, truly puts forth great effort and still falls short, deal with it then.



But assume he will put forth the effort needed if he actually wants to watch the movie ... maybe it is not really all that important to him



If he kind of puts forth effort and doesn't make it .... good lesson there. Tell him next time he can try harder and next time he will make it



It is okay to have high expectations.

[deleted account]

Who pays for the movie?



I do realize that not every child can/will get 100%, but I think it's fine for the school to set whatever goals for the kids they want. You should know that not every kid is going to get 5 100%'s so there will be at least several kids (I'm willing to bet well over half of them) that WON'T be going to the movies w/ the class. If you want to reward your child for their hard work even if they don't meet the class/school goals... you can take them to the movies (or some other special reward) yourself.



While this type of goal certainly isn't attainable for every kid. It will help to motivate the ones that ARE capable that otherwise might not do it.



Personally, I think the good grades/trying their best are enough of a reward though, so don't care if my kids get rewarded by the school or not.

Stephanie - posted on 09/15/2011

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Sorry if I sound harsh, but I think you are complaining. It's a harsh reality, but there is only one first place. When you give the big reward to all the kids it cheapens it for the kids who really worked hard for it. Some of the kids who earned the 100% might have had to really work at it. They don't all get it because they are smart. Your kid might surprise you and make the goal if he wants that movie hard enough. School should challange kids without making it too easy or too hard. The teacher may also help the kids in class so they can make all 5 goals. Giving the reward to the kids who don't make it just punishes the ones who worked for it. It also gives them no incentive to try.

Cheryl - posted on 09/15/2011

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Not all kids are top performing students, not all kids are strong athletes, not all kids get perfect attendance. This is how life works as an adult and if we keep trying to even the playing field, we are setting our kids up for failure and disappointment in life. We are already seeing these problems with young adults who feel they are "entitled" to certain things in life. We are creating generation after generation of kids with too high expectations in life and it is not serving them well. Come up with your own rewards at home, but let the schools acknowledge the top performers as they historically have. It will ensure a better future for your children.

Lily - posted on 09/15/2011

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Rewards are exactly what the word implies: a recognition of service, effort, or achievement. A reward is made special by the fact that NOT everyone receives it. How great will your kids feel if they work really hard and achieve this high standard? How cheated might they feel if the standard has to be lowered just so they can win the movie? Where is the sense of accomplishment in being rewarded for mediocre results? How will they know how great they CAN be if even their own mom is convinced that a perfect score is out of their grasp? We all go to high school , but only one person will be valedictorian and give the commencement address. Raise the kind of kids who go above and beyond, who persevere regardless of the difficulty of a task. This is just one woman's opinion, but I propose there maybe no greater gift you can give them than to use this opportunity to teach a whole series of valuable life lessons.

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Kristina - posted on 10/12/2011

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Well, I am not against a reward system. However I do not think a child should get one if they do not earn it. But feel the goals should be fair for all children. My kids do great in school, however, I think expecting 100% is too much to be rewarded... if the school had a reward system great, if not, that is okay too... I think it's a nice gesture.

Marie - posted on 10/12/2011

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I see the issues and if the school would not offer these rewards then there be no problems. A lot of children get upset when they do not get the rewards. I have a niece that does not do her work but wants rewards the other students get just because they get one she wants one. I as a taxpayer think the rewards should be from a parent and not the taxpayers. All children have to attend school until they finish the 12th grade or are in the grade that the stae set as a drop out point. To reward a child is the parents place not the educational system. Why? They become bribes not rewards because of the No Child Left behind law which needs to be repealed. It cost the taxpayers taxes to raise because student are passed just they are forced by law to pass them. Some school students in Arkansas do not have the abilities of reading and writing their own names after 12 years of school and still are allowed to have a High School diploma. I have a step nephew who had a D average and was allowed to pass out the 12th grade. 1.00 GPA and was given a High School Diploma. Now that is sad! He can't get a job with that kind of GPA muchless attend a good college. he be lucky to get a job at Mc Donalds saying you want fries with that or you want me to biggie size that.

Kristina - posted on 10/12/2011

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I don't know why you keep going back on money.. this isn't about money.. however, I am not oppose to the school handing out a reward system. You should read my very first post.. clearly you are missing something. You have the right to your opinion, but you are on the wrong forum. This is about 8 year olds having to reach 5 100% for spelling test and reading comprehension in order to go to the end of the quarter movie, that is free.... Not handing out money to 8 year olds.

Marie - posted on 10/12/2011

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I mean if there was no rewards in school they still have to go. The education only helps them to obtain employment later in life. If they do not at least finish High School then they only hurt themselves. No parent wants to keep their children up when the children is 30 and has no job because he/she did not apply themselves in school. My grandfather's rules was if you do not work or do your best in school that is your problem. Plus if you where old enough to work and did not go to school but where to lazy you did not eat his food. He said he worked for what he had and it was not his place to support you.

Marie - posted on 10/12/2011

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Giving a reward for something the the child needs later in life is wrong. Without an education they will have no jobs that they can obtain but poor paying ones. A reward is more like a bribe. My child gets no rewards in cash he only gets money for doing chores. He has to clean his room and do all his homework or no rewards. No tv if homework undone and correct. You have to teach children that money does not grow on trees and there is nothing in life that is free. You will appreciate the item more if you have a job and earn the money to buy it rather then it handed to you.

Kristina - posted on 10/12/2011

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*** movie. The school is not paying money to send hundreds of kids to a movie... it's all free..except the extra which the parents have to pay.

Kristina - posted on 10/12/2011

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actually the movie is free. We have a movie theatre that donates the movie. So when each kid reaches their goal they go to a free movie. the school is not paying to send hundreds of kids to school. they only thing that has to be paid for is the extra like a kids pack and thats optional, so the parents pay $3 for a kids pack...popcorn some sort of sucker and a small drink.

Marie - posted on 10/12/2011

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What the problem with a school giving cash rewards or any rewards it is the tax payers money used for these things. A school in CA gave a car. Now that is way to far of a reward for anyone. a minor being given a new car by the school on tax payers dime. was a public school to. Is a waste of tax payers money/

Kristina - posted on 10/12/2011

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this forum isn't about cash reward. It may have been mentioned, but ultimately it's about teachers setting goals that may be too high for the children to reach. if they can not obtain those goals, then they can't go to the end quarter movie.

Marie - posted on 10/12/2011

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A cash reward is not a good idea tho. A outing with a parent alone is better way to show a child you are prod of their work in school. The education they get helps them and the cash will become worthless reward after awhile. Is unfair to the other children also.

Marie - posted on 10/12/2011

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Giving a child money as a school reward is unfair and should not be done. I told my son's school out right no cash rewards for doing well in school. He is there to learn no matter if he get's a cash reward or not. School is to help him provide for himself and his family if he gets married and has 1. To give a child a cash reward is nothing more then a bribe by the school using tax payers money to do the rewards this is 1 cause for high school cost and taxes.

Kristina - posted on 10/12/2011

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I think for kids, rewards are great. School for young kids is not easy and letting them know their hard work paid off lets them know we as parents have noticed. I am okay with a reward system. I just feel if the school is going to hand out the reward it needs to be fair.

Marie - posted on 10/12/2011

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I would not gave a child cash as a reward. It will not work for long anyways all it will do is gave them a false hope. I rather gave them a outing to a movie or a dinner at their favorite place along just the child and myself. This works a lot better. Money any goes so far. Kids get tired of cash and if they are not the only child then time alone with a parent is a better reward.

LovingMom - posted on 10/03/2011

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It's always been mind boggling to me why a child must be rewarded for being law-abiding. It's the law to go to school, so you do it, without additional rewards, if you don't go to school, you bear the consequences by being punished. The same applies if you have to hand in an assignment on a specific date, if you don't hand it in on time, you get 0, ie also punished. If that means you fail the year, so-be-it. If you don't abide by the law, ie decide to drive on any side of the road iso the correct one in a country, you bear the consequences. So why must a child be rewarded for doing the right thing? Punish them for doing the wrong thing and reward them for extra effort, this does not include good behaviour, that is how a child must be, and punish them for bad behaviour. And even if you go the extra mile, a reward might not always await you, so teach the child not to expect rewards, but appreciate it (like any gift). Rewards and success come with hard work, although not everybody will notice it, the person will have inner satisfaction.

Keri - posted on 10/01/2011

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why would capitalization be an issue? If the word itself is spelled right, capitalization shouldn't matter. Is this a public school? I don't want to slam public schools but they usually set "general" goals - supposedly at an average success rate of the children that came before. How old is your "oldest"? It doesn't particularly matter, but certain grade levels have certain expectations, again general, but you'd expect a little more of a 5th grader than you would a 3rd grader. or a 3rd grader versus a 1st grader, but 100% is a stretch when it comes to everyone in the class achieving it. At that point, yes, the "reward" will be unattainable for many of the students. If there is any reward system it should be at the classroom level and if the school really wants to recognize children for truly exceptional work there could be a bigger award ceremony at the end of the year.

Valerie - posted on 10/01/2011

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I always learned VERY easily and still didn't get 100s on most tests. That's a ridiculous standard to set. How many of the teachers made 100s on all of their tests in school? Or never make a mistake in a grade book? Asking for perfection, or very near it, is excessive and will only serve to discourage the kids from doing well in the other categories. Once they feel they'll never get those 10 100's they won't care to do well in the other categories.

Kristina - posted on 09/28/2011

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TY Miriam. He is in the 3rd grade. I will be talking to the teacher. since posting this, I haven't been able to as she has been out of town. when she gets back, I think I will talk to her. I do not underestimate my child, as he has gotten a few 100% so he is capable. I just feel his teacher should have more options for all students.
I also have a daughter who is in the 1st grade. Her teacher sent home a note stating that she will have 9 goals but only requires 7 of the 9 goals to be completed in order to go to the end of the quarter movie... I like that idea..it's not so strict and it gives the kids more options. not every child can complete the 100%.. heck.. my son missed 2 spelling words on his first test because he capitalized the words..I think that is way too strict. hopefully we will come to an agreement.

Miriam - posted on 09/28/2011

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WOW!! what grade is he in? I am a second grade teacher and have a son in the 4th grade, and I have never heard of that kind of reward party! We have rewards for behavior and than we also do have rewards for grades, but not one where you have to master all in one!! some kids cant make 100% on everything and if they do they need to be in an academy or a higher grade because they are not learning, (its too easy) I had to move my son to an academy because he became bored with the easy 100's.
Anyway you should talk to your son's teacher and maybe even the principal!! Good for you for caring your a good mother.

[deleted account]

I do not agree with that article.... now we are damaging our kids by telling them "good job" when they do something right? I don't think so. If my 9 month old is looking at me and decides to stand completely hands free and is then proud of herself for doing so... of course im going to tell her good job or good girl or even just throw out a "yay!" Because it will encourage her to keep doing it. I think if you were to never give a child some kind of encouragement when they deserve it they will soon start to wonder "whats the point?"

Stacy - posted on 09/27/2011

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I think a 90% would be fair..even 95%.. Im a very out spoken parent when it comes to schooling and my child is also.. Ur child ur school.. If u feel that it is wrong tell the teacher.. Via email works great that way ur child is not in the middle if u happen to have oit spoken teachers as we do

Stacy - posted on 09/27/2011

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I think a 90% would be fair..even 95%.. Im a very out spoken parent when it comes to schooling and my child is also.. Ur child ur school.. If u feel that it is wrong tell the teacher.. Via email works great that way ur child is not in the middle if u happen to have oit spoken teachers as we do

Nadine - posted on 09/26/2011

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Parents need to be involved in their child's education. 5 - 100's is not to much to ask. I teach all day then come home to my youngest child . Every Monday she has a pretest. Then she is given list 2 for her spelling test. The second list is harder then the first test. But at night when I come home,we go over the spelling words and practice them. I will grill her over and over until she gets the words. Then we practice the next day too. Spelling tests are mid-week and if she gets 100% then there is no homework on Thurday night and extra recess on Friiday. She works very hard studying and practicing for these tests and deserves the reward. Once they get to middle school, they don't get all the extra perks that they get in elementary school. Elementary school sets the precedent for how they will be prepared in the future. I have students in 8th grade that can't do fraction or multiply. The teacher can't do this alone and the parents need to be involved. Unfortunately once the kid hits middle school, too many parents are no longer involved and the kid is left to sink or float.

Roxanna - posted on 09/26/2011

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At Stephanie Wilson, great response! The real world is competitive, and if you are not the best, you will not get the job, promotion, etc! My children 16 & 8, know that nothing less than 100% is allowed. My husband and I both work fulltime, opposite shifts, but we check thier homework, on the 8 year old, we are currently working on penmanship. Any word not written properly or spelled properly, she needs to re do 10 times. Is it harsh, yes, but it never hurt anyone to be an overachiever.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/26/2011

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I believe a reward system is a great idea. Even though the requirements to meet this goal should be set high, it shouldn't be unrealistic. Not every student will meet these goals, and they shouldn't, because what would the purpose of having a reward system if everyone gets to participate (unless of course every student does meet the requirements, but realistically that probably won't happen). I think a better way for the teacher to set these goals is by having an A on 5 tests instead of a perfect score. Maybe you could suggest that?

I was a teacher who set goals in reading. I based each goal individually because each child was at a different reading level and learned differently. Some of my students didn't reach them, and some did. The goals were never set too high. I also had smaller incentives for the entire class, so eventually everyone got to enjoy something, like blue jean day (because we had uniforms) or extra recess or something like that.

As far as talking to his teacher, just be honest and open with her. If you share your concerns she shouldn't get offended or hurt. Teachers are there to provide education to your children, and most welcome feedback from parents as long as its respectful. She may not change her goals, but at least she knows how you feel, or she may realize you aren't the only parent whole feels this way and decide to tweek it a little. Good Luck!

Heather - posted on 09/26/2011

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5 - 100%'s might be a bit high, however, I agree with what she is trying to do here. You set the bar high and kids are gonna reach to grab it every time. And a little disappoint never killed anyone.

Sdfuerst7 - posted on 09/26/2011

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They will know and understand it when they work hard, but it won't seem like 'work' as much as following their passion, and that takes work, but it's work they have the heart and mind for, so it will be its own reward. And truly, think about it, no one has spelling tests as an adult ansd is expected to make 100%, otr any grade....it is just one more artificial construct the schiool system impose on children who need freedom to explore and to learn in their time and in their way. If children become afraid to make a mistake, they are less likely to try something, and more likely to cheat to get the outward appearance of the 'correct' result as judged by others. That's stiffling to anyone.

Sdfuerst7 - posted on 09/26/2011

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interesting coincidence we posted this title at about the same time- I hope it will be checked out by others!

Kelli - posted on 09/26/2011

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The rules are there for a reason. What you are complaining about is what is wrong with today's society. Give a reward just for trying even though you did not make it.

Dee - posted on 09/26/2011

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I am a teacher and feel such rewards are not productive. Studies have shown that over time the children who received incentives never improved on their work while the children not receiving incentives did. I suggest that you look into a book by Alfie Kohn, "Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise Plans and other Bribes." It is very informative.

Sdfuerst7 - posted on 09/26/2011

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Read "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn. You will understand more about how reward systems cause many problems, and diminsh joy in learning. Fact is, humans learn, we are not blank slates.

Sarah - posted on 09/26/2011

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Noone is saying that they get the reward for just turning up. Set goals that are achievable and individual. I am with you totally on this Judy, so glad my sons school works differently. I am bringing my son up the way I was and I certainly didn't expect life to be handed to me on a plate. How can you expect an 8 year old to understand goals and behave the same way a 28 year old does?!!! I also don't think that children would do worse at the beginning so that they improve percentage wise ~ don't children always want to do their best and impress? I know my child does and his piers certainly do. As parents we mostly all set our own rules/goals for our children and we teach them life lessons, school isn't the only place to learn and I think to be excluded from something when they have tried their hardest is totally wrong.

Judy - posted on 09/26/2011

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Hi Valerie, but if a kid gets 5 100% in the first 5 tests, would the reward encourage him or her to slack off because the goal has been reached? If a kid starts off with a 100% and the subsequent performance is significantly inconsistent, then it's a flag for the teacher to note that there might be an issue. If a kid starts with a 100% and subsequent performance is equally good (might not be 100% all the time, but all at 90%+), then the teacher would know that he or she is teaching at the right level and giving sufficient challenge for the kid. For such kids, perhaps the reward system can be adjusted to include these kids, too. If a kid gets 100% on the first test, then gets consistently poor in the subsequent tests, then the teacher might investigate into if the 1st test result is pure luck and adjust instruction accordingly. About encouraging cheating, the same level of motivation would go for kids to cheat on tests so they can get 100%. On the other hand, I also think there is no 100% reward system that will cover all the individual cases. However, I do believe that a teacher's job is to improve a child's learning, and I just wan to caution against any system / policy that might send out mixed messages or discourage a child's learning. Because isn't the goal of our education system to help every child learn instead of identifying super stars? The real world can do that part, the identifying super star part.

Balinda - posted on 09/26/2011

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I like the method. We dont know how many tests they have. If I remember correctly there should be a spelling test weekly.. So if there are 8 in the quarter then 5 is not too bad. Good goal to reach for. Esp if the teacher is paying for it.

Valerie - posted on 09/25/2011

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Judy, no one is asking the children to get 100 on every test. Just 5 of them. I'm sure they have many more than 5 spelling tests as they are usually weekly. I agree that no one should be expected to get 100% all the time. But % improvement is not any better. That may encourage kids to cheat to get a low grade in the beginning so that they can improve more. What about the kids who gets 100 on the first test then...

Judy - posted on 09/25/2011

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To Mazy and Cheryl, I read the list and find it amusing and quite true. If I were disciplining my 20 year old who is using dumbness as a lazy excuse (which unfortunately my little 6 year old already is using), then it's a great list of rules. However, to someone who honestly is trying hard, the rules would basically tell them to give up. To the teacher who requires 100% on all tests, what happens to a child who missed 100% in the first test of the school year? I would imagine the child sees no reason to even work hard for the rest of the school year since he/she messed up already. I agree the school should prepare a child for real life, but real life does not say you are doomed if you do not do well in school. Real life says if you are a salesperson and no matter how hard you try, you still cannot reach the sales target, thus unable to get the reward, then you should try another profession. But in school, you cannot say to a child that if you don't do well in English, then give up and just focus on math! The goal of the education is to help students learn to the best of their ability and become responsible citizens of our society. Perhaps teachers should always refer back to this ultimate goal when they are designing their reward system. To me, this reward system says to the smart kid that there is no need to work hard as reward comes easy, while saying to the slower to flourish kids that there is no point to work hard as your efforts are useless. Are these really the messages that the teacher want to send out? On a side note, my bigger concern is that is the teacher teaching to the standardized test and not to the child's learning.

Judy - posted on 09/25/2011

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Perhaps you can share with the teacher that fairness isn't always equal. Each child should be set a high expectation, but each with his or her base to stretch from. A story in the Bible (Mt 20:1-16a) might shine some light. It talked about a landowners pays all this worker $1 for a day's work, regardless if you come at the crack of dawn or at the eleventh hour. Also, you might want to share with your teacher that instead of setting standard at an absolute number (100% on test), he or she might want to consider setting standard at a value added level (% improved from this test score to the next). That way, the teacher can assess himself or herself on how he or she has helped the child learn instead of mistakenly relying on a child's innate smartness or disadvantages to self-assess his/her own teaching effectiveness.

Nadine - posted on 09/24/2011

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If there are spelling tests everyweek, he should not have trouble attaining thiss goal. As a parent my recommendation is to practice with him at home for the spelling tests. we practice nightly and the morning of the test to make sure that my daughter can spell all workds. I make her do corrections when she places a capital and there isnt one, and remind them you only capitalize at the beginning of a sentence unless it is a name and always use a period at the end. In addition to the reading. Have your child read to you for about 20 minutes a night. I now mark my daughter off on her reading if she adds words or leaves them out in the sentence (she is in first grade). But the key to child success is parental involvement. I did this with my other children ( now 18 & 15). The 15 year old can no longer spell worth a darn but she was a great speller then. Seems like they forget about spelling once they hit middle school since there is so much more to cover. Also talk to the teacher and see what she says if you think your child isn't going to be successsful ask how can you help. Does your child have an IEP or a 504 that would make a difference as well.

Regina - posted on 09/23/2011

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How will our kids just suddenly "know and understand" that hard work reaps rewards if they are not learning it NOW? If you do your best and still don't get the reward, it's okay! You did your best! Kids need to understand that. But, when you work hard and you achieve something such as the reward at school, the promotion at work, the trophy on the team, then you have something to be proud of. This in turn builds self-esteem and promotes a strong work ethic in every aspect of our lives. A reward for basically just showing up means nothing and builds nothing. Hard work EARNS something. Hard lessons TEACH something. In the long run our kids are better off because of it.

[deleted account]

I don't think it is fair. I have four sons and they are all different. One has a learning disability, one has mild ADD, one is extremely bright and shy so it was easy for him to get the rewards at school because that is the way he is wired. The other two tried even harder than their brother but didn't attain these rewards because they couldn't....it wasn't an even playing field. They didn't have the same advantage. I am all for rewards but, it should be measured by the individuals ability and effort.

[deleted account]

Cheryl--- I might have to hang that list in the kitchen to re-enforce what we are already trying to teach our kids.

Cheryl - posted on 09/22/2011

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Mazy - I am with you 100%. There is an excerpt from the book "Dumbing Down our Kids" by educator Charles Sykes.
He talks about how feel-good,
politically correct teaching has created a full
generation of kids with no concept of reality and how
this concept sets them up for failure in the real
world.
RULE 1
Life is not fair - get used to it.
RULE 2
The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world
will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
RULE 3
You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out
of high school. You won't be a vice president with
car phone, until you earn both.
RULE 4
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a
boss. He doesn't have tenure.
RULE 5
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
grandparents had a different word for burger flipping
they called it Opportunity.
RULE 6
If you mess up,it's not your parents' fault, so don't
whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
RULE 7
Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as
they are now. They got that way from paying your bills,
cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about
how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest
from the parasites of your parent's generation, try
delousing the closet in your own room.
RULE 8
Your school may have done away with winners and losers,
but life has not. In some schools they have abolished
failing grades and they'll give you as many times as
you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the
slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
RULE 9
Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get
summers off and very few employers are interested in
helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
RULE 10
Television is NOT real life. In real life people
actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
RULE 11
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for
one.

Sarah - posted on 09/22/2011

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Have you spoken with the teacher yet Kristina? I would be interested to hear what she had to say to your opinions. I don't think this reward is fair at all but I am not a parent who did not do well at school. I did well and I want the best for my son but at school why shouldn't every child get to see the movie ~ some have been good with very little effort, some have had to work, some have improved. Some may be trouble makers who haven't tried (and my child is not one of those thats not why I have this opinion!) but as children to exclude them from a movie is just so wrong. The real world starts when you have to get a job and start paying your way, I think as a teenager having weekend jobs is the time to start being taught the harsher realities. If you don't get good grades you will be 'flipping burgers' as you say over the pond and if you do you could be a doctor or lawyer but lets just let our kids be kids for the short amount of time they will be!!!!

Mazy - posted on 09/22/2011

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But Kristina, to school aged children, this is real life. Should everyone get an A on a spelling test because they tried their best, no matter how many right answers they got? And if we reward the most improved, what about the child that made a 95 the first time, but never got better...she never improved, though overall she may have the highest GPA. Do we let all kids into the top schools & colleges because they did the best at their ability? And when do we say "the real world starts now"? That seems, to me at least, the harshest of all. Suddenly, one day all these kids will be faced with a "real world" & some won't know what to do. Like Pamela said earlier, the parents need to help the children learn as well. It is not 100% the school system's responsibility to teach anyone. Now I know a lot of folks aren't going to like this, but what I'm thinking is that a lot of this "it's not fair" talk is coming from parents who either didn't do well themselves or are insecure in their abilities to help teach their children. I was a horrible speller & would have failed every test if my mother hadn't done drills with me while making dinner. I wasn't great at math either, but my father went over my homework with me whenever I asked for help. I was a top student because my parents worked with me when I needed it. I was a top student in college because I had learned from my parents how to seek out help & research on my own. It really hurt my feelings in grade school when everyone got a reward because it made me feel like all of my hard work meant nothing. However, a lot of my classmates didn't finish college, if they even started, & only have participation medals...not the real thing. Why give a kid a prize if they didn't really do anything? Instead of making everyone feel good now, why not work a little WITH them so they can get a real prize? One day all children will grow up to learn how to differentiate the participation medals from the real thing, and for some the realization will be a little painful.

Kristina - posted on 09/22/2011

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I think sometimes we have to remember that these kids are still kids. I expect my kids to do their best, but I don't expect them to compare school to the real working world. School is not a sport, these kids are not competing against eachother to see who is smarter. This is an indivudal thing, you always want to beat your old score and always do your personal best. so i disagree with those who think to treat school as a sport - some win and some lose or as a job promotion - some get recognized for hard work others dont... Right now, I am wanting my children to always do their best and not give up.. But in this instance if a school wants to give out rewards, it should be for everyones capabilities. kids shouldn't be competing against one another for a reward that is offered to every student. These kids are not competing in a Spelling B or Science fair...and when the time comes if my son is competing he will know and understand that not everyone wins.

Danae - posted on 09/21/2011

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It doesn't sound like a fair system, possibly designed for exclusion of certain students. If the school/teacher doesn't take on board your concerns, then turn your focus too your child and develop your own reward system, perhaps based on the report card.

Valerie - posted on 09/21/2011

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You actually bring up a couple good points:
1) you assume that if a child doesn't have good parents that help them with their school work they cannot achieve excellence. While I agree that it is an advantage to help our children with all of their development and especially their learning it does not mean that a child can't do well without it either. This is actually an argument FOR incentive programs. The child whose parent is involved is going to encourage them to do well, check their homework, help them where needed, etc. Someone like me, whose parents never checked homework or even really seemed to care if it got done, was very motivated by incentives. Although for me, the grade was most of the reward, I would go the extra mile to "win" a physical reward. I had 3 brothers and a sister and 3 of the 4 graduated HS with honors without any help from our parents.
2nd point is that children with learning disabilities still have many strengths. While they may not be able to achieve every reward, teachers can set up rewards that they can meet where they excel. I have a friend who has a special needs child and she made a good point about inclusion for these children. At the time her child was attending a special needs school and there was debate about moving those children to a "regular" school. I thought she made a very valid point when she stated her reasons for wanting to leave her child where she was: one was of course the specialized education that she could receive from teachers trained to deal in special needs. The second was more poignant to me. She said that her child now could sometime be the best at some things because she was only competing with other children with similar problems and disabilities. In a "regular" school, she would never be able to compete on any level either academically or physically. Just made sense to me.
I believe that competition is a good thing. It keeps us all honest.

Pamela - posted on 09/21/2011

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As a teacher I would suggest sitting down with your oldest on the night before the spelling test and giving the child your own version of the test. In other words, take the spelling list and read it to him or her using each word in a sentence as teachers do when they give the test. Then check the list and make corrections. Do this on a night before the test is given at school. If you teach your child to self correct mistakes at home the likelihood that he or she will get 100% goes up. It only takes less than 5 minutes to give a spelling test. Hopefully you can find 5 minutes the night before the test each week to do this simple chore. It gives the child special one-on-one time with you and will boost the child's morale in general when the test come out 100%.

Do the same with reading. It will take more than 5 minutes but believe me, the time you spend one on one with a child is REALLY VALUABLE to that child and will mean a lot as the child grows and matures and looks back on it's childhood memories.

Regina - posted on 09/21/2011

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I have no problems with such a reward system as this. I feel that there are not enough "true" rewards for our kids these days. Meaning... every child gets trophy, every child gets the reward, etc. If we set our standards high and expect a lot then chances are, we get a lot back from our kids. If we expect little, we get little effort back. Real Life is hard and not everyone gets the 'prize'... that's reality. Work hard, reach the set goal, receive the reward. I think our kids NEED to see this and learn this. Teach your child that it's okay... you did your best... and that is all you can do. However, the potential reward might cause him to work harder and eventually reach that goal and receive that reward. How exciting and how satisfying will that be for him? I dare say that it will mean much more to him than the hundreds of trophies he may receive along with every other player on the team just for being there. He worked hard and he earned something that not everyone else did.

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