Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pay for Performance a Bad Idea

Harvard economist, Roland G. Fryer, has devised a plan to keeping inner city children motivated to succeed in school. The controversial new program would give fourth and seventh graders from lower income families, $100 to $500 for performing well on ten tests throughout the school year.

In The New York Times article by Joseph Berger, “Some Wonder if Cash for Good Test Scores is the Wrong Kind of Lesson”, advocates of the program say similar incentive programs in countries like Mexico have increased school attendance. Others believe the program will not only help underprivileged children, but children from all economic backgrounds by creating a driven, highly motivated school environment.

Opponents of the program believe that instead of being motivated by a love of learning and an inner desire to succeed and create better opportunities for themselves and their families, children would only be motivated by money.

Other opponents like Suzanne Windland, a Queens resident and mother of three, believe the program is unfair as it only favors lower-income children, which could spur resentment among the other classmates who don’t qualify for the program.

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