A Blog Covering D.C. Education [ABCDE]

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 16 2009

Cash For Kids?

I recently gave a lesson in which my students analyzed how an author uses context to support his/her position in a non-fiction text.  As a “Do Now!” warm-up exercise, I asked them to lay out their position on the statement, “we should give cash to students who perform well on exams.”

While the whole cash-for-kids debate is fascinating in itself (see this story from NYC, for example), I think one of my students put forth a compelling argument that makes me question my belief that a cash-for-kids program is a great way to incentivize better test performance in the short-run and, consequently, an increased thirst for knowledge in the long run.

AF made it absolutely clear that she doesn’t think students should receive cash for achieving.  But why? Why shouldn’t she earn money for doing well?  See below to find out (I’ve used my digital teacher’s pen to highlight the key point):

I can almost picture her–smug grin on her face–dropping her pen with an air of finality and marveling at the sheer persuasiveness of her argument.  How kind and honest she is!  We teachers, as it is, make a mere pittance. So thank you for looking out for my livelihood, AF (and I sincerely wish you had not dropped out of my class).

In the future, though, don’t be bashful: go out there in the world and make teachers broke–achieve!

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    Really, "A Blog Covering Dilemmas in Education": A (former) English teacher's reflections…

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