Principal Promises King's Dominion Trip If Scores Improve

By Karen Vanegas

If sophomores do well on the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DCCASS) test, Principal David Pinder has promised to shell out $13,000 to take them to King's Dominion. Pinder has offered to take most of the funds he would receive as a bonus to cover the cost.

This is the third year McKinley has taken the DCCAS. The first year, McKinley students took the Stanford 9 test, and 40% made proficiency. The following year, the DCCAS was introduced, and 50% in made proficiency; the next year, 60% made it.

These standardized tests are used to measure a school's Adequate Yearly Progress. (AYP.) AYP was created by the No Child Left Behind Act. Each state, including Washington, D.C, has developed and implemented measurements for determining whether its schools are making AYP.

Every year, McKinley has improved by 10%, which means we have reached AYP. Only four public high schools in Washington D.C out of sixteen have made it. Besides McKinley, Banneker, School Without Walls and Wilson made it.

Schools who make AYP receive budget funds and even salary bonuses for the school's staff. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's incentive agreement is if a school's standardize test scores rise by 20%, the school's employees will receive a bonus. The principal will receive a $10 thousand bonus, the vice principals $9 thousand, teachers $8 thousand, clerks $4 thousand and the custodial staff $2 thousand.

"I will give the sophomores as an incentive a trip to Kings Dominion. This is not bribery. It's an incentive. If you accomplish this, I will give you this," said Principal Pinder.

The definition of incentive is a reward offered for increased productivity. Bribery: is anything given or serving to persuade. There are differing opinions about which this really is.

"It takes hard work to do something well. Rewards should be given," said Larry Payne 10th grader who took the DCCAS this year.

"If they start giving rewards, rewards will be the only motivation. If you go by just bribery, then you never have an actual purpose to do well. Making sure we have a good education is a better reward," said 10th grader Samantha Bernola.

It's a trend that been set that's happening all over the country. In New York City, students are eligible to win up to $500 for improving their scores.

Not all teachers agree that taking kids to amusement park is a good idea.

"Rewards should go directly to education," said Mr Kass math teacher.
Ms. Woolfolk, Spanish teacher, thinks the King's Dominion trip is a good idea.

"It's hard to for students to focus in standardize exams. They are not part of their grade, so they have no motivation. This is a problem because DCCAS directly affects the entire school," she said.

By Anna Kinsman |  June 4, 2008; 1:55 PM ET News
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