Oct. 21, 2008
Fourteen middle schools around D.C. have recently implemented a new program called Capital Gains along with New York and Chicago city schools. The program was designed by Harvard economist and researcher Roland Fryer to increase incentive for low income students to do their work and attend school. Hence, the reason why Harvard is covering half the cost of the $2.7 million dollar project, and the District has to pay the rest.
The D.C. students that are participating in the program have the potential to earn up to $100 a month for doing things like their homework, having a good attendance record and getting good grades.
But it begs the question, why pay people to do something they are required to do? Is paying them actually going to help students learn things like responsibility, hard work and duty? And what about the other middle schoolers in the District that go to school, turn their homework in on time and study without getting a paycheck? It seems that monetary incentive is telling these kids that they aren't capable of learning on their own, that they have to be tricked into submission and into learning. It sends kids the message that doing the right thing has a price tag and isn't something that should just be expected.
But of course the students like getting money, who wouldn't want to get paid to go to school? When Christopher Johnson from Kelly-Miller Middle School was asked about getting paid he said, "People ain't had money. It's better now for people to have money than not having money."
And while there have been no reports of the results of this program yet, it would seem that the money they are paying kids to go to school might be better spent on improving their grammar.
For more info check out: http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=76165&catid=158