Forget about learning for its own sake. A Boston-area high school will pay students $25 per quarter for perfect attendance. They’ll get the money if they graduate. This is a trend, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
(Chelsea High School) joins a number of districts throughout the country turning to incentives to boost test scores, GPAs, and student turnout.
Some schools, like Chelsea High, are focused solely on attendance. Officials there maintain that they can’t carry out their mission if a student is not in class absorbing the material. Others are doling out gift certificates, coupons, and checks if students earn straight A’s or land on the honor roll.
I had perfect attendance in fourth grade. Mr. Parker, my favorite all-time teacher, gave me a gold-painted plastic cup he’d won in a dance contest at the Hotel Fontainebleu in Miami Beach. I displayed it with pride on my dresser. I wonder what happened to it. But it was an after-the-fact award. You have to wonder what message it sends students when a school tells them the only thing of value they can get in school is cash. And $25 a quarter isn’t much of a bribe.