Students at 15 Washington, D.C. middle schools have received their first pay checks for attendance, homework completion and grades, reports the Washington Post. (Click on the link if only to see the great photo with the story.) A model students can earn $100 every two weeks; the average check was $43. At two schools, students were shorted due to a computer error in reporting attendance and behavior.
Reactions varied widely, with some students bounding down the school steps on 10th Street NW near U Street, waving checks at each other and shrieking: “What d’you get? What d’you get?”
Others sat quietly and studied the pale green checks with “Harvard University” in boldface across the top. Sixth-grader Kevin Sparrow-Bey, who took in $20, said he was annoyed by the assumption that he and his classmates have to be paid to take school seriously.
“I can do the work,” said Kevin, 11, who said he gets B’s and C’s. “It don’t change nothing.”
At Shaw Middle School, tardiness is down but grades haven’t gone up.
(Principal Brian) Betts said that when students begin to see the money every two weeks — and the direct relationship between what they are paid and what they do in school — the effect will be more widespread.
Many students told the Post they’re motivated to work harder for a financial pay-out. But I wonder what it will do to their motivation in the long run.