Saturday, September 22, 2007

Money for Merit

Once again, the DOE is implementing some controversial system instead of proven methods that increase education levels. This time, they are paying low-income students in all grades for high scores on standardized tests. Parents will also be paid to be more involved in their students education. The break down is as follows:
[The DOE is] launching a new program this fall that will pay low-income families for, among other things, attending parent-teacher conferences ($25), getting a library card ($50) and graduating high school ($200 to the student, $200 to the parent)...Parents of elementary school students in the program will get $300 and middle-school parents will get $350 in incentives if their child scores at proficiency or demonstrates improvement on each of the state standardized tests. High school students will get $600 for each Regents exam they pass.

Paying parents to become more involved in their child's education can be a good thing, but the incentive behind paying students to do well on standardized tests may prove fatal. This will create tensions between those students being paid and those not. Furthermore, a student that tries to earn the money but barely misses the cut off score to earn the money will only become frustrated and give up. It is a quick fix to get students into the schools and try to do well on standardized tests, but the consequences are numerous and risks too great in implementing such a program.


Latino Pundit said...

What is the reasoning behind the program/

Seth said...

Their reasoning is "if you give a kid money, they work harder".

Personally giving kids money straight up doesn't quite fly with me. Maybe invest it in a college fund or something. Giving parents money seems like good incentive for parents to get involved in their kids' education but it could cause unnecessary stress. I'm not quite sure how I stand on this one.