Paying Students to Study


jchang212
on Nov 18, 2010 @ 09:50 am

The Toronto District School Board is trying to decide whether or not they should implement the controversial idea of paying needy kids to attend school, get good grades, and spend time mentoring others. They want to use it as part of a poverty reduction scheme.

Apparently the "'Cash for grades' idea has been tried in some U.S. cities with mixed results".

The TDSB board's director, Chris Spence, is reaching out to twitter for opinions. What are your opinions on this new idea?



Full article - Studying: It Pays Off; Metro News.
 


8 Replies


Becky
disagree! on Nov 18, 2010 @ 10:40 am

In my humble and ignorant opinion, no child in Toronto should be below poverty line that they can't attend school because they have to support their family. And even if they were, they can't work because of child labour laws. If this is for high school kids, then I still don't agree because kids should study and get good grades because it's good for their future!

If the government wants to create incentive for kids to stay in school, how about they create more job opportunities? They can hold job fairs in high school and even elementary school telling kids of the different fields there are in College, Uni and even trade school, how much money the person makes, etc. so that way encourage them to stick to their studies. I remember the job fairs back when I was in HS, they were quite boring so maybe they can make it more interesting and age appropriate entertaining..

I mean, not going to school, not studying, is a BAD thing, agreed? So getting paid to stick to school and study is basically getting rewarded for doing something bad. It's like a child who behaves badly and to make them stop the parent gives them candy, more tv time, etc.
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cathy3087
If I was a high school kid on Nov 18, 2010 @ 11:13 am

I'd love this idea because I got good grades anyway. But now that I'm - thankfully - looking from the outside, I think it's an awful idea. There are some kids who work hard right now and deserve the good grades they get. They are working hard now to get paid the big bucks later when they start their career. If kids aren't getting good grades now, they don't deserve them. School is not a job.
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mamaluv
toughie on Nov 18, 2010 @ 11:32 am

In the US (and I can imagine the same must be true elsewhere), economically disadvantaged kids consistently score worse than their more affluent peers.

Part of this is because they may be in a single parent family or a 60-hr-per-week working family (ie. the parents are working multiple low paying jobs just to make ends meet). Kids in these situations often don't have their parents available to motivate their school work, come to class presentations, and/or be involved at the school in general. Sometimes, these parents are poorly educated themselves or English may be their second language and they simply can't tutor their kids through their lessons.

(Please forgive, I'm making huge generalizations I know)

Yes, there may indeed be cases where there is no good reason some kids should be getting poor marks. But there are plenty of cases where they lack the advantages of a stable-income family. You cannot expect elementary-aged kids to self-motivate: they just don't have the perspective and discipline to see that through.

I imagine this is why the US attempts have had "mixed results". I don't think there's anything wrong with a program that uses financial incentives to raise grades per se. Perhaps simply doling out cash is not the best approach and another method could be devised. I like that they include a "pay it forward" requirement (via mentoring, tutoring, etc), but what I dislike is that more affluent kids will see this as unfair.

My final thought is this: I have yet to meet a school-aged kid who really understands the value of education for the sake of personal betterment. If that were true, they would kick and scream over the 2 months of summer break for being away from their valuable education. Even those kids who have an inkling about their future don't really "get it". Given the choice, most of them would also rather be playing XBox than doing their homework.
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Ali de Bold
Interesting on Nov 18, 2010 @ 11:33 am

I actually kind of like this idea. This makes kids think of school like their job rather than having to work while going to school. It's an investment in their future skill set.
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Becky
I know everyone pays this but I just have to rant (sorry!!) on Nov 18, 2010 @ 04:55 pm

is it just me who thinks this is SO unfair? Even before I see my hard earned money, the govt' takes their cut. Then each time i spend a dollar from the leftovers I get, I have to give tax on that too. We pay car insurance, high gas prices (almost all of it is just tax), a $74 license plate sticker that has a $60 tax (yup you heard me! a $74 sticker has a $60 tax on it!), we think RRSP is a tax break, but really it's just a delay in paying your taxes, because from what I know, when you take the money out, you pay a fee for taking the money out and you pay tax on what you took out. And a ton of other miscellaneous taxes and prices and government mandated money we have to hand over...

So when the govt finds more ways to spend, it gets me thinking, how much more of my money do i have to hand over for that to happen? Maybe I'm paranoid but I feel that they find something to spend money on, then they introduce a new tax, or hike up an existing tax to pay for it. But how much of the extra money is going towards the new spending and how much is going into the pockets of our "public servants"? I briefly worked for the govt' so I know how little the "peons" of the public sector get paid, I'm not talking about them. But the politicians and the high up there people...do they really need a six figure income?

I know that our children are definitely our future, and I would love to see each child in school be motivated to achieve their best. But I just wish it could be done in a way that didn't include more of my $$$. I love the free health care and good (well, maybe not good..maybe moderate) road conditions and free education (up to high school, and of course Uni costs you an arm, a leg, and your first born child), and I console myself that my taxes are helping pay for those privileges.... but children who can't be self motivated, I have to pay to motivate them? Where does the responsibilities of the parent end and responsibilities of the community start? I understand some parents don't earn enough at one job and have to hold multiple jobs to support their families, but raising their children is still their responsibility, and motivating them towards a better future is a part of their raising, no? And what about those middle class children who work hard in school? Won't that serve to demotivate them?

I don't think the idea to motivate kids is a bad one, but I think paying the kids is a bad idea. School isn't work, school is a privilege. If young professionals come in to give seminars on different jobs and employment opportunities, this I think is a more equal motivation (for kids of all income households). Now, at work we have bring your kids to work day, and I remember in high school we had job seminars, but both are SO BORING!! The other day one of our execs brought his kid into work and I saw him standing by our elevators explaining to the poor child what each of our logos meant and what accomplishments we've done, and I was sort of nodding off listening to him and I work here, so I can't imagine how bad the kid was feeling!! Maybe these "motivating" things that are in place aren't working because the adults organizing them aren't making them interesting and engaging enough for the kids.

Also another awesome way of promoting post secondary education is to drop the tuition prices!! But I wonder why the govt thinks of spending more money instead of cutting back on expenditures for motivation?

Sorry for the rant :(
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jchang212
Agreed on Nov 19, 2010 @ 09:31 am

@becky: I agree with what you said. Also, I think studying hard really depends on the individual. There will always be those who are more motivated than others. It's really about being able to see the importance in working hard and being able to make a future for yourself...

However, on the flip side, I'm fortunate to have never been underprivileged, but I feel like if they didn't want to study before, giving them money is probably only an instantaneous motivation. If they get the money, where does it go? If the child is lucky enough, their parents will use it wisely. But in many cases, this money could be going into more substance abuse, or the child may even be abused to get better grades in order to get the funding. I see so many ways for this to backfire...
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mamaluv
in a perfect world... on Nov 19, 2010 @ 09:49 am

In a perfect world:

- every parent would raise their kids "by the book"
- Teachers would be effective in reaching and inspiring each and every student
- Kids of all ages would understand the value of an education
- parents would be up to snuff on school curriculum and able to tutor their children
- financial incentives would be applied in an appropriate way
- etc

But we don't live in a perfect world, which is why we are stuck with imperfect solutions :)

And university in Canada is heavily subsidized. It's been the recent pullback of gov't monies that has been part of the reason for tuition hikes. My alma mater (U of Manitoba) cost around $4000 per year (tuition & books) when I attended; schools in the US are much more costly than that - and I'm not talking Ivy League either.

I totally get the frustration with seeing money being spent in ways that we don't all agree on. However, it's important to think from the other side - what if you were in a position where a certain program would make all the difference?

I think of it like the "nursing in public" debate: before I had kids I would have been opposed. Then I had babies and received some mean-spirited snubs and comments when I tried to discreetly nurse somewhere other than crouched over the ladies room toilet (but that's another rant for another day!).

There will always be those who abuse the system, but there are many others who genuinely need the help and are stuck without it. My husband and I were once dirt poor students, and if it wouldn't have been for the occasional handout from grandparents and parents, we would have had to apply for welfare. That was our reality. If there would have been money for good university grades, better believe we'd have been all over that :)
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takoda
This is a hard one but, on Nov 19, 2010 @ 01:30 pm

I don't like the idea of handing out money to the kids either. If they were to say put it away in some kind of a savings account in each child's name, not they're parents, for they're higher education coasts, that might be a better way. I can't see it making that big of a difference to the grade school kids, but the high school kids possible would try harder if they new each good grade paid for more of they're collage class's.

But on the other hand theres also a chance children could end up being abused by moron parents that only want the money to drink, or do drugs with. I see a lot of people in my city that are on welfare, some illegally just using the money they get to buy drugs and booze for them self's. Then they send they're kids to school hungry and not dressed properly for the weather. Some of these people know they can get away with it because a lot of our school have breakfast clubs before school starts for those hungry kids and the coats for kids programs. We just don't have enough people to watch over everyone to make sure the money kids with good grades would get would be going where it should be.

Also my husband makes good money and sometimes we still have a hard time making ends meet with the amount the gov. takes from us every time we turn around in tax. They have they're hands in all of our pockets way to much now, can you imagine how deep they're going to put they're hands in if this goes through!

You don't see any of our Gov. officials taking a bus, or even driving they're own cars when they have a short enough distance to go. No they fly every where and in first class no doubt. I say let all of them start cutting back on they're own spending. Then they can take the money they saved to pay these kids if that's what they want to do. We're all taxed to death in this country enough as it is and it won't stop until we all stand up and make it stop.

Sure I want to see all kids do well in school and move on to do great thing's, but this isn't the wayto go about it.

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