Stimulated to spend

What happens when 125 “at risk” youths 17 to 24 years old are paid $8.15 an hour to attend school?  One girl bought a $450 purse, writes Laird Jenkins at American Thinker.

Two Polynesian girls rewarded themselves with tribal tattoos. . . . Ronisha, a mother of two children, spent her money on a baroque neck tattoo displaying her babies’ names. . . . Jason put a down payment on a car, unperturbed that he had no insurance, no high school diploma, was not in line to receive one, and the car payments extended thirty-four months past his final summer stimulus training.

The program devoted one hour a day to teaching money management., but only a few heeded the advice. Jenkins mentions hard-working girls from Somalia and Botswana, who budgeted to attend community college, two boys planning to attend trade school and a Chinese boy who wanted to fly to Hawaii to work in his uncle’s restaurant.

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  1. Um, are we sure about the credibility of writer “Laird Jenkins”?

    I could find any link…

  2. Just a typical dumb American Thinker article. A hundred lines devoted to viewing with horror and alarm of money wasted and exactly four lines grudgingly given to the kids who used it well.

  3. superdestroyer says:


    This article in the American Thinker reeks of urban legend. Ensuring that all ethnic groups are mentioned, stereotypical names, and no details. The author should have at least link to a government page that gives the details of the program.

    Given to mention of a specific program, city, school, or even state, I find the article impossible to believe.

  4. Not having followed the link yet, I would react only to this part:
    “125 “at risk” youths 17 to 24 years old” are paid to attend school. Really? Don’t most kids graduate at 18 or 19? Who are these up-to-24yos?

    Superdestroyer thinks that the article mentioned too many ethnic groups – seems like a typical “at-risk” group to me.

  5. Okay, I read it and it sounds like a set-up to me. The writer can’t write clean, grammatically correct sentences – this is a teacher? The examples do seem, at first blush, to be stereotypical and run the risk of being dismissed for being so outlandish. I’d have to see corroboration before I believe all of it.

    The pay seems to be for five hours of work and three hours of school – that’s less shocking than “$8 per hour to sit in school.”

    I’m also not so sure that anyone has a right to stand and decide how the kids may spend their money. The first time ANY kid gets $600, they’re going to blow it on stupid things, and any group of kids will have some with alcohol and drug problems. If the deal is made – do this and we’ll pay you, then the “teacher” should get off his high moral ground and let them make mistakes and learn from them.

    If he can’t do that, he shouldn’t be doing his side of the bargain.

  6. *IF* this story is legitimate, then the youths ought to have been “paid” via a scholarship to be used for some sort of higher education or vocational training for either the individual or an immediate family member (child, sibling, etc).

  7. Curmudgeon: most states have a max age for high school. It is 21 in mine.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    I have searched for the name “laird jenkins” and have concluded that it is a fake name.

    I have look for a program for 18-24 y/o adults who are high school drops outs and get paid to attend school and work. I cannot find anything close in searching the internet. Given the mention of two polynesians and relatives in Hawaii, California would be my first guest.

    I suspect that the editors, to make a political point, adjusted the names to sterotypical ethnic names so that everyone would understand what was being discussed.

  9. Margo/Mom says:

    American Thinker–which I have encountered mainly in regard to pseudo-journalist Pamela Gellar, does not appear to be in the habit of observing basic ethical tenets taught in most journalism 101 classes. They are long on opinion and short on substantiation–crying freedom of the press. With freedom comes responsibility–something that they routinely overlook.

  10. George Larson says:

    In the 70s and 80s I was an enlisted man in the Army. Enlistment standards were lower than they are now. Among my peers many received enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses of a few to several thousand dollars. For most this was the first time they had to think about what they would do with a large amount of money. Some blew the bonus on drugs and wild parties. Some made down payments on hot cars and motorcycles. Some of the vehicles were wrecked in a few months. Those who were married surrendered the money to their wives for safe keeping. I do not know what the wives did in most cases. The few I knew about saved it for the down payment on a home.