Cash for Grades

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

Education opens many doors.

But should the main one be at the bank?

School districts throughout the country are increasingly paying students for coming to class, taking tests, and improving their scores as part of controversial incentive programs known as "cash for grades."

In Baltimore, high school students who make the grade can make some money--up to $110 for raising their scores on state assessment tests.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, passing students can turn a school day into pay day, earning $300 if they attend 90% of their classes for the year.

And near Atlanta, eighth and eleventh graders who take part in a special after-school study program are paid $8 an hour--more than the minimum wage in most states.

Supporters of earning while learning point to increased attendance and higher test scores at underperforming schools where no other form of educational motivation has worked. "We’re in competition with the streets," said one Bronx junior high school principal of her students. “They can go out there and make $50 illegally any day of the week. We have to do something to compete with that.”

But critics of the programs—many of which are privately funded--say the payments are simply bribes, and that using money as a motivator sends the wrong message to kids about their responsibility to learn.

Would George Washington Carver have come up with his inventions in horticulture if someone had “bribed him?” asked one critic. Would Marie Curie have been inspired to spend long hours in the lab? “What kind of message do we give unmotivated kids,” he wondered, “when we give them something they never earned?”

Tell us what you think: Should schools pay students to learn? Is learning all the way to the bank responsible?


[deleted account]

Absolutely....what a great idea! Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on who you ask at what time, money makes the world go round! In the real world we get paid to do a job, show up on time etc. Perhaps these programs are better preparing children for the real world?!

[deleted account]


If the kids are getting better grades on state and Nnational assessments then the schools will see more money from the government. That's the whole idea behind this I think...


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Amber - posted on 07/07/2010




I think it's a great idea. It might not help all the students, but it might give motivation to some of the kids. And even if it only helps a handful of kids, isn't it worth it? Especially for kids in low income neighborhoods, it might be nice for them to get a little extra cash for luxury items.

[deleted account]

My parents paid me for grades. Didn't help. When I wanted to do good, I did. When I didn't, I didn't. I didn't care about money...

April - posted on 07/07/2010




i think it would be a great way to save money for college. i think parents can take school bribery and turn it into a lesson. i do agree, however, that academic success needs to come from within. children should learn to set goals for themselves and have self-pride.

[deleted account]

Okay so if you get money just for showing up, why not just go and sleep all day? You still meet the 90% attendance level. Kids aren't going to get educated just by forcing them (or paying them) to sit in a classroom. No one said they had to pay attention.

Paying for good grades and good test scores is a little more reasonable. But I'm still leery of it. What about the kid that tries and puts forth 100% effort but still gets all C's? Won't that kid feel like a failure and that his time was wasted because he's just not smart enough?

Like Lindsay and LaCi both demonstrated, paying for grades can only go so far. Think about it. No amount of money (short of a million possibly) can make you do a job you don't like. If kids don't like going to school, no amount of money will make them go and perform well.

It has to come from inside. They have to WANT to be there. This comes from interactive teachers, hands on learning and technology. Maybe that's where the money should be going.

Sunny - posted on 07/06/2010




I live in Australia and when i was in year 9 (14-15 years old) my class had terrible attendance and grades so they started giving us treats. It started with lollies, than moved to picnics with fish and chips at the park to trips for the whole class out to the movies and dinner. It was great. Not only were we rewarded for our efforts but the rewards ended up bringing us all closer together as a group. 8 years on im still good friends with everyone from that class. I think something like that would be a better idea than money. Oh and i went to a country public school.

Jodi - posted on 07/06/2010




"one was paying students to simply show up, but as they said, if you can make thousands of dollars per week illegally, why bother showing up to school an entire year to make a measly 300? or even $8 per hour. just seems really ineffective, IMO"

In many states in Australia, it is now illegal to leave school until you are 17 unless you have an apprenticeship or some other approved education or training program. So as an employer, it is illegal to just hire a kid under 17 during school hours unless it is within the scope set by the government. I don't know yet if it has been effective - this only came in recently.

Meghan - posted on 07/06/2010




My son has no choice but to go to school. It's a responsibility that a child has to themselves! BUT with that being said I do want to encourage him to do the best that he can, and if that means bringing home a good report card earns him a new toy or some cash so be it. I don't think that the schools should be paying about take that money and pay the teachers more or buy some better text books, do something to decrease class sizes??
As far as "What kind of message do we give unmotivated kids.." goes...maybe it would light the fire under their ass? I sucked in school and really could have cared less to be there. but one year my dad told me he would buy me a cd player if I brought home decent grades..well guess who had a brand new JVC that June?

Amy - posted on 07/06/2010




I too think it's a great motivator and there's nothing wrong with the idea, however I don't like it when the money is coming out of tax payer's pockets. Paying for grades should be something parents should do, or if they do it at a government level it should more so be scholarship money, not flat out cash.

Lyndsay - posted on 07/06/2010




My parents used to give me $5 for every A I got on my report card, which worked wonderfully when I was younger. I was an excellent student. As I got older, they decided that I should be responsible enough to go to school and bring home good marks without any outside motivation.. they took away my reward money, and I ended up dropping out of school. Fast forward a few years, now I'm in college and my marks are all in the 90s. I'm not getting paid, but now I'm paying for my college tuition so I'm thinking I better make it worth the while!

I think it's a great idea, and I do plan to reward my son for good grades, but I think that once you start you have to continue it until the child recognizes the importance of education for him or herself... you can't just decide to take away the rewards one day, or it all goes down the shitter.

LaCi - posted on 07/06/2010




I really don't think they're going to have enough success to render a substantial sum from the government, and if they were to do so they'd be paying out more than they'd get in, in my opinion. Only one of the examples even included test scores, one was paying students to simply show up, but as they said, if you can make thousands of dollars per week illegally, why bother showing up to school an entire year to make a measly 300? or even $8 per hour. just seems really ineffective, IMO

It may be more effective to pay the parents, maybe then parents would be more attentive to the kids education and their behavior.

LaCi - posted on 07/06/2010




I don't think it's a terrible idea. The only problem, that I see, is schools should be using the money to better themselves rather than bribe the students. At a certain age students should understand the payoff of doing well in school, scholarships, better jobs, etc.

That being said, my parents rewarded me with cash though, every A was like $20. Straight A's was $300. It worked in middle school, not so much in high school when I stopped caring and had a job ;D

[deleted account]

Although I was paid money to stay at sixth form (college) after I finished school at 16 I did not need it as I was always going to stay at school - I wanted to go to University as this was my goal (which I got and sailed through with great grades). I took the money because I could it did not motivate me I motivated me, none of my mates chose to stop on because of the money either (again they took it but would have stopped anyway). So to me this kind of 'motivation' is a waste of money.

IMO schools should be focusing on making education interesting and stimulating the children because at the end of the day that is worth more - what happens when the funding runs out and children just have to go to school without being paid if the lessons are not stimulating children will not want to do it. I think having teachers that are really passionate about their subjects really helps with this - I took GCSE and A-level history because my teacher was so passionate and so instilled this in us!

Jodi - posted on 07/06/2010




LOL, I've promised Jayden $20 per A....he is not an A student, more a B or C, but I've never seen so much motivation. I will still give him a bonus if his report is good. I am waiting on it at the moment.......

Terrible, aren't I? But bribery works like a dream :P

[deleted account]

I think its a good motivator...Ill prolly do it with Carleigh just like my parents did it with me. I had a 3.8 GPA all through HS and still carry that today while im in college I do not however get money for my grades now that I am a college student because I realize how important they are to succeed. My parents paid me $20.00 for an A, 15.00 for a B, 5.00 for a C and nothing for any grade lower than that. Plus we got extra money for tests and things...same money and grade scale only we didn't have to wait for the end of the semester to get some $. It worked for me It cant be all bad!

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