Performance pay for parents

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has raised and contributed $40 million to experiment with paying low-income parents to get their child a library card ($50), a dental check-up ($100) or a disabilities assessment ($150).

Some 2,500 families earning no more than $22,321 for a family of three will be eligible for Opportunity NYC payments; a control group of the same size will not. After two years, the effect will be evaluated.

Both conservatives and liberals are dubious.

One potential foe, Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, says she generally opposes any pay for good behavior, even giving teachers more money if their students do well.

I’m dubious too, but it’s all private money so why not see what happens?

About Joanne


  1. Perhaps the Mayor should spend some time and resources finding out why New Yorkers get stuck up for $50 a year to use the PUBLIC library. Out here in JesusLand (San Antonio), every resident of the county gets a library card for the asking. The result: libraries FULL of kids.

  2. Mike, I think the parents earn $50 if they get their kid a library card. Not that the card costs $50

  3. wahoofive says:

    So they get a library card, show it to the authorities so they can get their $50, then throw it away. That’ll make all the difference in the world.

  4. Ooh… more monetary incentives for low-income individuals to have lots of kids. Woohoo!

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Why not go whole hog and pay the parents to move somewhere else?

  6. Catch Thirty-Thr33 says:

    As a San Antonio native, I would submit a bit more is at work in the public library system than free library cards. That, combined with parents who encourage their children to read, goes a LONG way.
    Though free library cards don’t hurt a bit. 🙂

  7. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Free library cards? I have never had to pay for a library card and I’ve had one since 1938.