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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

If schools pay students, will they come?

Learning loss and absenteeism are a crisis, writes Brandon Cardet-Hernandez, a member of Boston's school board, on the Hechinger Report. He proposes paying students 16 and older to attend after-school enrichment programs, extended summer learning and work-study programs.


Schools have trouble hiring enough cafeteria workers. Why not pay students to do the job?

Many young people took on family responsibilities and jobs during the pandemic, he writes. School became a lower priority.


Schools could use federal funds to reconnect with students, create learning opportunities and increase the possibility they'll earn a high school diploma, Cardet-Hernandez writes. Students could be offered jobs at their schools or in city government, such as "lunch prep in a cafeteria or clerical work in an administrative office."


Paying students to participate in enrichment or summer school is a non-starter, I think, but work-study programs could be politically viable and a useful way to get disengaged students to show up. If schools work with private employers, they could offer students an array of entry-level jobs, contingent on them learning academic skills they've missed.


Years ago, California created Electronics Academies for students with poor attendance and poor grades: Those who did well in school were offered interviews with local employers, who offered after school and summer jobs. Students were very motivated to qualify for those interviews. They went on to earn more money than non-participants.

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8 Comments


Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Jan 04, 2023

Massachusetts, and other states, should establish a serious vocational education & training system like that in Switzerland, with the emphasis on apprenticeships and further education related to the youth's chosen career path, rather than the nearly worthless certificates known as "high school diplomas" that are failing to attract these disengaged youth.

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Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Jan 03, 2023

US DOE NCES District Directory

Boston school district

2018-19 revenue per pupil: $28,454

Why not: ...

  1. Mandate that all Boston District schools must hire parents of enrolled children, on personal service contracts, to provide for their children's education if (1.1) the parents apply for the contract and (1.2) the child is at or above age-level expectations on standardized tests of Reading (any language) and Math and

  2. Mandate that all Boston District schools must administer an exit exam (the GED or SAT will do) that students may take at any age and subsidize private-sector employment or post-secondary tuition to age 18 from the $28,000 that the district would have spent.

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Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
Dec 31, 2022

I live in Boston and my kids all graduated from BPS schools - when my kids were in school I was very involved with the schools but that's a couple of years ago now. One thing for sure is that there are plenty of people in the schools doing next to nothing now and having students get in on it isn't going to help the schools. isn't going to help teachers or administrative staff and there's no way they're going to allow the kids to work in the kitchen. Other than that it's a great idea,

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Guest
Dec 31, 2022

Speaking only for Texas, the schools now are paid on formulas around"average daily attendance". Base is $5140 per student-year where a year is 180 days of instruction. About $28 per day. So a school could pay a student $10 per day to come sit in the "rubber room" for the full day, and come out $18 dollars ahead. Put a cheap substitute teacher at the front of the room, call it "remedial study habits" and everybody is officially happy.


I would suggest, instead, both the schools and students are "paid for performance". We already do end-of-year testing. Agree to pay the student $5k to $6k for scores in the passing to excelling range. If the student agrees that his sch…


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Guest
Dec 30, 2022

So... you're paying students to come to school, so that the school will get federal funds... so that the school can pay the students? Sounds legit to me.

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