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Pay Up; He Got an 'A'

By the time most kids are teenagers, they've figured out some way to make money. It might be mowing lawns, babysitting, dog walking or hiring themselves out as computer experts.

But now, some school districts around the country -- including Washington, D.C.'s -- are paying kids cash for grades.

The practice is taking hold for the first time in Washington, D.C., this year. District public schools announced in August that it is pairing up with the Innovation Lab at Harvard University to provide incentives to middle school students, who -- as of this fall -- are getting up to $100 every two weeks for their attendance, behavior and academic achievement.

Fourteen of the District's middle school programs -- Brightwood, Browne, Burroughs, Eliot-Hine, Emery, Shaw at Garnet/Patterson, Hardy, Hart, Jefferson, Kelly Miller, Langdon, Stuart-Hobson, Takoma Educational Center and Whittier -- are participating. The schools are customizing their implementation to focus on the factors that have the biggest impact on student achievement, says Jennifer Calloway, assistant press secretary to the D.C. schools chancellor. Schools could judge kids on grades, participation and their adherence to the uniform policy, she says.

The money goes into a bank account. Kids, not their parents, have access to the accounts. The students are not given ATM cards. Parents can choose to opt their children out of the program, Calloway says.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, as many as 5,000 public high school freshman will receive $50 for an A, $35 for a B and $20 for a C, reports the Chicago Tribune. The students will be measured every five weeks; they'll get half the money right away and the remainder when they graduate. That means a straight-A student could earn as much as $4,000 by the end of sophomore year, The Tribune calculates.

D.C.'s and Chicago's programs are following New York, which implemented a pay-for-grades program last year. Similar programs exist elsewhere around the country: in Arizona, Texas, rural Virginia and Baltimore.

Do you think these school districts are on to something? Should our schools be paying our kids for grades? Do you currently pay your child for a grade? If you're a parent in one of the pay-for-grades schools, how's it working?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  September 16, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Policy
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Comments


Maybe - definitely maybe.

My parents were so frustrated with continually being told I was an "under-achiever", that dear old Dad started paying me for bringing home A's. Then, of course, he had to pay all my siblings too - it was only fair. With four kids bringing home nearly straight A's, that lasted all of one grading period. It was just too expensive for the family budget.

Maybe these school districts have deep-enough pockets to maintain their pay-for-grades system, but with the economy in such a mess, I kind of doubt it. So, what will happen to the kids' grades when the district stops paying? Probably the same thing that happened in my family - the grades will go back to what they were before or get a little worse.

Posted by: Sue | September 15, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

These types of programs have been tried elsewhere, with mixed results. When the payments stopped, the grades tended to drop.

Posted by: You kids keep off of my lawn! | September 16, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

The kids don't get $100 every two weeks - it is once a month.
Here is the quote from the actual article in the WaPo written Aug 22nd: "For years, school officials have used detention, remedial classes, summer school and suspensions to turn around poorly behaved, underachieving middle school students, with little results. Now they are introducing a program that will pay students up to $100 per month for displaying good behavior."

Posted by: Get your facts straight | September 16, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Compared to the monies schools throw into all kinds of worthless curriculum, training programs, technology that doesn't ever work - the money involved here is a pittance.

I haven't met many middle/upper income families in this area that haven't ponied up this or that for good school performance. How many Nintendos, Game Boys, Wii, cell phones are contingent on schoolwork? Quite a few I think.

So what if the grades fall if the program is discontinued? A kid who finally got his multiplication tables down or figured out how to read or write a little better has benefited.

Posted by: RoseG | September 16, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I haven't met many middle/upper income families in this area that haven't ponied up this or that for good school performance. How many Nintendos, Game Boys, Wii, cell phones are contingent on schoolwork? Quite a few I think.

Posted by: RoseG | September 16, 2008 7:27 AM

Yes, and cars & driving privileges are often contingent on grades.

Posted by: Yup | September 16, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

For decades the DC public schools have been plagued with widespread mismanagement and systemic curruption. I have no problem seeing cash being put back into the outstretched hands of the students and parents that are being pimped out by the system.

Posted by: ugly smugly | September 16, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

We used the "reward for grades" system with 3 of our children. There was also a bonus for straight "A's". One is now working on a Phd at Stanford, the second graduated Phi Beta Kappa from William and Mary and the third, having graduated 2nd in her class in high school, is a successful junior at Davidson College in NC. We always felt it was an appropriate model; in the work world you are (hopefully) rewarded for extra effort. I think the cash for grades idea will be far more productive than just throwing money at the system.

Posted by: paminky | September 16, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I believe the Hawthorne Effect is more effective and certainly costs virtually nothing but a person's time.
All it takes is an adult taking an interest in a child.

Posted by: GreGG | September 16, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I think the cash for grades idea will be far more productive than just throwing money at the system.

Posted by: paminky | September 16, 2008 7:45 AM

The cash for grades idea doesn't work when the payments end.

Posted by: ? | September 16, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

When I was in school, which wasn't too long ago, my father began to pay us for bringing home good grades- $10 for an A and $5 for a B. It worked because I now understand that children often "feel" loved when they receive a gift, so receiving money was a great reward for a job well done. Of course, for me there were other factors involved as to why it was a success (my parent's divorce, and me seldom seeing my father) but with any implementation of this program you must look at the contributing factors as to why this would be a success as D.C. has done with the attendance issue, and low grades.

Posted by: A Washingtonian | September 16, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Sure, no problem. Of course I assume the parents of kids in said programs will be the one's funding the programs, yes? I mean, I opted out of parenting for many reasons but the expense of children as well as the responsibility for them was right up there on the list. My tax dollars as a non parent wouldn't be used to fund a program for parents who also don't want to be responsible for their own kids' education either, right?

Posted by: Sandy H | September 16, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with parents giving their kids rewards for grades, but for some reason, the school doing it bothers me a little. On the other hand, $4000 in the bank as a Sophomore is no small thing, and could make a significant dent in a kids' future college expenses. It's hard to argue with that.

I wonder, though, if the schools could have found a different reward system that would motivate without outright paying the kids. When I was in HS, the reward for good grades was "cut cards." Kids on the honor roll got a pass to cut three classes a quarter (so they could focus on independent study, of course), kids just below it got one cut card. For those of us normally disinclined to cut classes, these were a huge incentive. Am I naive in thinking that a similar scheme could still work?

Posted by: NewSAHM | September 16, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

My tax dollars as a non parent wouldn't be used to fund a program for parents who also don't want to be responsible for their own kids' education either, right?

Posted by: Sandy H | September 16, 2008 8:08 AM

Tax dollars are always used prudently.

Posted by: TIC | September 16, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

And when these kids get to college and they have to pay out instead of getting a payoff - where will they be. These programs satisfy the instant gratification tendencies of these kids - what's wrong with working hard for the bigger pay out in the end?

Posted by: Lloyd | September 16, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

This idea is definitely going to increase the amount of grade-grubbing among students...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Just where is this money ultimately coming from, or is the Treas. just printing more? I know it can’t be tax dollars…no one would be that stupid.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

This is the funniest thing I have read in days:

"Tax dollars are always used prudently.

Posted by: TIC | September 16, 2008 8:34 AM"

Posted by: Me | September 16, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

We got paid $100 for every A, high school only. It was a lot of money.

I don't have a problem with it. People who make top grades usually end up making more money in life, so why not learn the lesson early?

It certainly did not impact my lifelong love of learning for it's own sake.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 16, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, to clarify, it was my parents who paid us. But I don't have a problem with my taxpayer dollars used that way either.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 16, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Tax dollars are always used prudently.

Posted by: TIC | September 16, 2008 8:34 AM

Completely agree. I love how my tax dollars are being used to prop up Iraq and make Bush/Cheney and his cronies richer, while making the rest of us go on welfare.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the Chicago plan: $20 for a C? That's crazy. A C isn't an achievement; it's *average.*

I think this is a terrible idea. I was one of the few straight-A kids in my middle/high school who rarely got rewards or privileges for the accomplishment. I worked for the satisfaction of achievement, and that was good enough for me. My classmates who did get paid for grades were ungrateful brats who refused to do work for the sake of work.

I coach middle schoolers, and don't reward them for doing what they're supposed to. And the kids like me, and listen to me, anyway.

Posted by: rallycap | September 16, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I wonder, though, if the schools could have found a different reward system that would motivate without outright paying the kids. When I was in HS, the reward for good grades was "cut cards." Kids on the honor roll got a pass to cut three classes a quarter

Posted by: NewSAHM | September 16, 2008 8:15 AM
******************************

I believe the point of this exercise is to motivate kids to attend class - not to cut. As long as these programs are focused on kids in low-income areas, I think they are a great idea. Giving kids a tangible reward for achievement will help them make the link between the idea of "education" and the feeling of success. Things like "cut cards" probably work best in areas where kids are either internally motivated or would get in trouble at home if they cut class.

Posted by: VA mom | September 16, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"My classmates who did get paid for grades were ungrateful brats..."

rallycat, your jealousy is showing.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I would never pay my children for good grades. But I also send them to a private school, so I am already paying a lot, and they realize that this is a privilege - that we are paying to send them and they have an obligation to do their best or they will not get to attend the school anymore.

BUT, isn't paying the children in the poor-performing D.C. public schools just slapping a band-aid on the problem? Isn't the problem that the schools are no good and the children hate going to them? I went to public school in Fx. County my entire life and I hated it and didn't do well and the school couldn't care less. I don't think the money would have improved my grades at all. Having better teachers and stopping the drug dealing, harrassment, etc. of other students might have made me a better student.

Posted by: Brooke | September 16, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

rallycap

"I think this is a terrible idea. I was one of the few straight-A kids in my middle/high school who rarely got rewards or privileges for the accomplishment. I worked for the satisfaction of achievement, and that was good enough for me. My classmates who did get paid for grades were ungrateful brats who refused to do work for the sake of work."

Ah, but the "ungrateful brats" now have much better social skills than you.

"I coach middle schoolers, and don't reward them for doing what they're supposed to. And the kids like me, and listen to me, anyway."

I find it very difficult that the kids really like someone as socially awkward as you.

Posted by: ?? | September 16, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't really bother me in theory. But the long term studies shows it doesn't have a positive impact in the long term.

The postive impact actually diminishes even after they continue the payment. I think the study I read said it was only positive for about a year. In the groups that were still getting paid in the second year, the incentive had no effect compared to the control group (no incentive).

It also only seems to boost reading and science scores. It seemed to have no effect on math scores.

In general, I don't think you should have to pay for kids to attend public schools. But it is cheaper then other motivational tools. Also it puts the low income students at the same level playing field as the middle income students whose parents are paying for them to get good grades and attend.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Also it puts the low income students at the same level playing field as the middle income students whose parents are paying for them to get good grades and attend.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 9:31 AM

"Level playing field"? Are you kidding?

Posted by: Wow! | September 16, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Hey foams, how's it going? Baby growing and all...sleeping through the night yet?

Posted by: dotted | September 16, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

My spouse teaches high school in a neighborhood with plenty of poor kids. This program would only place yet more pressure on him to inflate grades. None of these pay for performance plans seem to be based on improvement on standardized tests!

Posted by: Herndonmom | September 16, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

On topic here: The youngest two are teens, including a senior. we don't pay for grades. I don't think it is a good idea for children as it doesn't teach them anything. We expect their best effort in all classes, even those they 'hate.' Whenever they don't do their best, we put on our 'disappointment' face. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. However, it is their grades, not ours. We point out the ramifications of their lack-of-effort. They make mistakes, but their mistakes only reflect on them.

Posted by: dotted | September 16, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

It's disgusting.

And I'm doing the same thing with my son. The motivation is to assure that he gets into a specific university.

sigh.

Posted by: Alan Browne | September 16, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I think the intention is good but the whole idea is ridiculous. When I was a student, I tried to get my parents to pay out for good grades and maybe once or twice (for straight A's) I received a small sum. School was my job and I had to perform at an A or B level. C's were not even close to acceptable and I would be grounded or have privileges taken away if I even brought one home at mid-term. Maybe many of these children are under privileged or don't have parents who care, but when did parents stop taking responsibility for their children and their grades? It's sad. The schools should do their job but the real work needs to come from the parents. They are the ones who need to motivate their children. We shouldn't hold the schools responsible for raising our children and giving them a paycheck for an education they are lucky to have.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I struggle with the concept mostly because I believe the opportunity to learn is a privilege and acquiring knowledge is fundamentally exciting and what life is about! Paying for grades is antithetical to those ideas. Do we remember great teachers because they gave us good grades or because they inspired us as learners?

Posted by: anne | September 16, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

We got paid for grades as kids. $10 for each A $5 for each B. We OWED $5 if we got a C. $10 for a D. F's were so unacceptable that they weren't even on the scale.

Straight A's were worth $100 - which I achieved just twice. (And if it was an A- instead of an A, then it didn't count.)

It wasn't the money - it was the challenge. My sister and I competed on who could earn more with bragging rights being the only reward of that competition.

Posted by: paid for grades | September 16, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

What a stupid idea!!! Children should be expected to study and get good grades without someone "showing them the money". Otherwise capable students who don't make good grades do so because their misguided parents have never made them accountable for any of their failures (wouldn't want to hurt their self esteem, I guess). Constantly praising children for every non-achievement from the moment that they are born only lowers what the kids think is expected of them. If they were told that they are the smartest, cutest, funniest child on earth every time they pooped a diaper, why do something that is difficult.
Don't waste tax money on pay for good grades--take something away for bad grades.

Posted by: SpareTheRod | September 16, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Constantly praising children for every non-achievement from the moment that they are born only lowers what the kids think is expected of them. If they were told that they are the smartest, cutest, funniest child on earth every time they pooped a diaper, why do something that is difficult.


Posted by: SpareTheRod | September 16, 2008 10:15 AM

That is NOT happening to these kids.

Posted by: Oh, brother | September 16, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Also it puts the low income students at the same level playing field as the middle income students whose parents are paying for them to get good grades and attend.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 9:31 AM

"Level playing field"? Are you kidding?

Posted by: Wow! | September 16, 2008 9:35 AM

Maybe I should have been more clear. It puts them at the same level playing field in the pay for grades aspect. Meaning middle class kids are getting paid by their parents. Why shouldn't poor kids get that same reward. I am not trying to say everything else is evened out just because they get $100. Sorry for the confusion.

Baby is doing really well. He isn't nursing all that well. I think he is starting to wean. But he is happy and sleeps in four hour clips. Not too bad.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

We got paid $100 for every A, high school only. It was a lot of money.

I don't have a problem with it. People who make top grades usually end up making more money in life, so why not learn the lesson early?

It certainly did not impact my lifelong love of learning for it's own sake.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 16, 2008 8:51 AM

No matter what the topic, you are an incredibly pretentious bore.

Posted by: Brag, brag, brag | September 16, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Good idea, but WAY too much money. Kids don't need $100 per A per month.
I remember at the end of 6th grade feeling sorry for myself because so many of my classmates were excitedly talking about how much money they were going to get for their As, Bs, and Cs. Whereas, I had straight A+s and was going to get praise and a hug. My very, very wise teacher saw me downcast, talked to me, and gave me TEN CENTS for every A. Suddenly, I was happy! I immediately went and blew it all on candy.
The point is, it isn't the SIZE of the reward that makes a kid happy. It is the fact that you are getting some sort of TANGIBLE reward. Money in the bank is NOT a tangible reward. And, by the way, if they think that putting the money in the kid's name is going to keep it out of the hands of disfunctional parents, they are very much mistaken.

Posted by: dmm | September 16, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

My tax dollars as a non parent wouldn't be used to fund a program for parents who also don't want to be responsible for their own kids' education either, right?

Posted by: Sandy H | September 16, 2008 8:08 AM

Nice sound bite. Now for some actual facts.

The only parents who are responsible for their own kids' education are homeschooling parents. Every other parent may support the schools and encourage their kids but they are not RESPONSIBLE for their kids education. That responsibility belongs to the teachers and the kids.

Posted by: Lisa | September 16, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think some of you are confused about who is getting the money. It isn't middle class kids who come from families who are concerned about their education. These experiments are being conducted in poor areas with at risk kids. The at risk kids are not being praised all the time, involved in extracurricular activities that are rewarding them for showing up, or (in general) in families who take a substantial interest in their education.

My guess is if the same study was conducted in the middle class areas there would be NO effect in the incentive group. Why? Because these kids are a) already getting paid by their parents b) come from families who have a general (if not substantial) interest in their education and c) generally have all the educational advantages that a middle class income can give (extra curricular enrichment programs etc...)

The concept behind the study was to see if a financial incentive can motivate under privilged children. What the results shows is that it has a postive impact in reading and science in the short term in this select group of students (poor kids).

The study wasn't designed to see if this would motivate middle class kids, who in general do not have an attendance problem. It wasn't also designed to see if it would raise test scores among the middle class population as well.

But the general moral lesson of pay for grades, is equaled if the poor kids have access to such payments.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The problem with this is it reinforces the idea short term rewards vs. long term rewards.

Our entire cultural is becoming so fixated on the now, that it is hard to imagine them planning for the long term.

If you get A's you do get paid...but the reward comes latter in life, with a better job.

I see this as just another part of the larger problem. It is why are roads do not get fixed, our ports are not expanded, little to no pulbic transporation outside a few major cities.

Anything that requires long term plaining and having to wait for the benefits of work performed today is an anathema to our society.

Posted by: Bob | September 16, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

No matter what the topic, you are an incredibly pretentious bore.

Posted by: Brag, brag, brag | September 16, 2008 10:23 AM


Well, you would certainly know about being a pretentious bore.

If you don't like my posts, don't read them.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 16, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Many of you believe attending school is a student's job. Well, you get paid for doing your job, don't you? And you are more highly motivated to that job when compensation is commensurate with performance, right? So why should it be any different for these students. This is particularly important in our worst, most impoverished school districts because many of these children have never REALLY seen that academic effort will ultimately be rewarded. They don't have role models who are constantly demonstrating the very real connection between academic achievement and future socio-economic success. Would the world be a better place if everyone went to school and learned for the sheer love of knowledge? Of course! But we don't live in that world (and none of us are likely to live to see that world), so the best we can do is apply practical, if unpalatable, solutions to help these students close the achievement gap.

Posted by: two terrific boys | September 16, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I think the cash for grades idea will be far more productive than just throwing money at the system.

Posted by: paminky | September 16, 2008 7:45 AM

The cash for grades idea doesn't work when the payments end.

Posted by: ? | September 16, 2008 7:51 AM

I wouldn't come to work anymore if the payments ended. Would you?

The point of this exercise is to incent specific behaviors not to produce Pavlov's dogs

Posted by: Morgan | September 16, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading most days, post here from time to time, but I've had it with the bullsh*t that's going on. No one is allowed to say anything or offer his or her point of view without people being nasty or in recent cases, downright disgusting. I sincerely hope I don't know most of you people in "real life". Many of you need to be in counseling, possibly rehab, for the way you think you can treat other people.

I'm done with this blog. Life is too short to waste it with people who clearly have small brains and such rotten hearts. Have fun berating one another. At the end of your life, I hope you remember these hours spent abusing total strangers on what is supposed to essentially be an idea exchange, not some kind of anonymous guillotine.

Posted by: wtf | September 16, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

bob, you have a point. But the same argument could be used for performance rewards at work. Most studies show that it also only has about a 6 month positive effect. Most rewards at work at not used to "motivate" future work but merely to reward prior work.

Not to mention, most children live in the here and now. They can barely think as far as the end of the week. Thinking about what their life will be like 15 years from now is developmentally inappropriate for middle school children. Some HS students can project that far but MS it is unlikely. Heck, I know some adults that can't project/plan that far in advance.

Posted by: parent | September 16, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Many of you need to be in counseling, possibly rehab, for the way you think you can treat other people.

I'm done with this blog. Life is too short to waste it with people who clearly have small brains and such rotten hearts. Have fun berating one another. At the end of your life, I hope you remember these hours spent abusing total strangers on what is supposed to essentially be an idea exchange, not some kind of anonymous guillotine.

Posted by: wtf | September 16, 2008 10:38 AM

Carm done. It's the Net, hon. Not your
book club...

Posted by: Um | September 16, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

i would rather be a pretentious bore than an obnoxious a-hole any day

Posted by: anonymous | September 16, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

i would rather be a pretentious bore than an obnoxious a-hole any day

Posted by: anonymous | September 16, 2008 10:41 AM

I know. That's why I never call you.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

foam: as soon as the boys got a taste of 'real' food, the weaning began...and more sleep happened too. growing up!

Posted by: dotted | September 16, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

My heavens! The people on this blog are so rude to each other. Just reading the nasty comments brings me to tears. I wish you all would be gentle and nice to each other, so that we can all learn wonderful tips on raising children. Although I don't have much in common with the people who live in urban slums and are not upper-middle class, I love sharing about my beautiful children that I raised in a suburban environment. Please, lets not be mean to each other, it truly makes me and I'm sure the others very upset.

Posted by: Nancy | September 16, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"Carm done. It's the Net, hon. Not your
book club...

Posted by: Um | September 16, 2008 10:41 AM "

What does that mean, precisely? "It's the Net." Does that mean people are expected to be obnoxious @rse-holes all the time; that polite society is discouraged; that courtesy is frowned upon?

"Listen to what you say? No, It's the Net."

"Be something other than a royal jerk? Never; It's the Net."

"Act like Tie Domi on a 'roid rage? Of course; It's the Net; it's required."

Posted by: m2j5c2 | September 16, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

We used the "reward for grades" system with 3 of our children. ... One is now working on a Phd at Stanford, the second graduated Phi Beta Kappa from William and Mary and the third, having graduated 2nd in her class in high school, is a successful junior at Davidson College in NC. We always felt it was an appropriate model; in the work world you are (hopefully) rewarded for extra effort. ...
Posted by: paminky | September 16, 2008 7:45 AM

I'm glad someone else has done this successfully. We don't pay for grades, but we buy a major prize for straight As. That's how my daughter earned her cell phone. Wanting that phone sooooo much seemed to be the thing that motivated her to work that little bit harder to go from good student to great student.

Posted by: mom of two | September 16, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Although I don't have much in common with the people who live in urban slums....

Nancy | September 16, 2008 10:46 AM

Who does on this blog, Nancy?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

foamgnome, thank you for bringing some sanity to this discussion. The study that you are citing presents some interesting results. Just to reiterate, this incentive program (if I understand it correctly) is for at risk lower income children. If you don't want your tax dollars used for this type of program or you don't think it works those are valid opinions. But, for some of you to try and make a connection between what is happening in your middle/upper class house and the challenges that face many at risk children in lower income areas is seriously flawed thinking. Sharing is good and we can all learn from each other but please recognize that one size does not fit all.

Posted by: mdt | September 16, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Why not use that money to increase teacher salaries? Some very good "teachers" don't take teaching jobs because it won't pay the bills. Imagine if only half of the students of a class of 30 is being paid for good grades and attendance. That is $1500/month for that class. Over the 9 months of school, that comes out to $13,500/class. That's a 22.5% raise for someone making $60k (I really have no idea how much District teachers make, but this is an example).

Let the parents reward the students for good grades. The school system only needs to teach and test the students.

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

But, for some of you to try and make a connection between what is happening in your middle/upper class house and the challenges that face many at risk children in lower income areas is seriously flawed thinking.

Posted by: mdt | September 16, 2008 11:00 AM

That is what this blog is all about. Comparing apples to oranges, and then bragging. Pay attention!

Posted by: ! | September 16, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'd hate to see my tax dollars being used like this, but I fully intend to pay my own children "performance-based bonuses", just like I would receive at my job. Might as well teach them about the real-world economy as soon as possible, which is why I'll also be "taxing" their income. $10 for an A, but the parent tax is 10%. When they're old enough, I plan on offering them a line of credit, with a healthy service charge and interest rate as well.

Posted by: James | September 16, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Let the parents reward the students for good grades. The school system only needs to teach and test the students.

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:05 AM

The point is that their parents are too poor to give them a financial reward/incentive.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Let the parents reward the students for good grades.

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:05 AM

Um, they don't. That's the point.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

A lot of you are talking about tax dollars. Remember most of a schools discretionary spending comes in the form of local property taxes. So if you don't live in DC, you probably are not contributing to financing this experiment.

The experiment I read about was funded by a private grant. Tax dollars were not used at all.

It was unclear if DC is using local tax money or federal dollars.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I reject the idea that school is like a job and that the only real reward is money.
I need to make a living, sure, I'm a single Mom. But I also want to feel some enthusiasm for my job (and not just on payday). I certainly appreciate that some people are stuck in jobs just for the paycheck. But that's not what I want for myself or for my kids.
That means their education has to give them a chance to figure out what they're good at, what gets them excited, what kinds of studies and activities open options for them in the future. Grades are important only insofar as they matter for opening doors you may want opened down the road.
I'll give my kids whatever opportunities I can afford but it's up to them to make something of themselves. I can't pay them to do that!

Posted by: anne | September 16, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm done with this blog. Life is too short to waste it with people who clearly have small brains and such rotten hearts. Have fun berating one another. At the end of your life, I hope you remember these hours spent abusing total strangers on what is supposed to essentially be an idea exchange, not some kind of anonymous guillotine.

Posted by: wtf | September 16, 2008 10:38 AM

wtf, you seem a tad venomous and angry.

What's the purpose of posting a departure speech whilst you exit? You're not Sylvia Plath, Juliet, or anyone else gifted and departing. At the end of your life, I hope you are a little less trite and glib with your insults.

Posted by: Carm Down, Fatty | September 16, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Let the parents reward the students for good grades.

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:05 AM

Um, they don't. That's the point.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 11:10 AM

That may be true (likely is true) but it is not up to the school system to make up for that.

In my opinion (non-researched, completely biased to my worldview), having the parents involved in the education process would produce better results. I know that, in general, the parents at these urban school sometimes don't pay attention or don't care about the kid's school. However, if these parents don't care about school and/or can't afford to reward the kids for positive performance, AND they have access to the money the kid is bringing home, who do you think the money will be spent on? Not likely the kid.

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"Why not use that money to increase teacher salaries? Some very good "teachers" don't take teaching jobs because it won't pay the bills. Imagine if only half of the students of a class of 30 is being paid for good grades and attendance. That is $1500/month for that class. Over the 9 months of school, that comes out to $13,500/class. That's a 22.5% raise for someone making $60k (I really have no idea how much District teachers make, but this is an example)."

Not saying that there aren't any good teachers in DC, but I think that the system in DC is badly skewed in favor of the teachers, with not so great results for the kids. I know that Rhee has suggested changing the contract to pay teachers upwards of 100K a year in exchange for giving up tenure and being on probation for a year. She is trying to hold them more accountable for their actual performance. Not sure where this is in the process, but certainly, the idea of paying teachers more money is definitely in play.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"It was unclear if DC is using local tax money or federal dollars."

The original article says "Costs of the incentive will be split almost equally between the school system and Harvard's American Inequity Lab, which studies poverty and race issues."

So Harvard's paying half. (They can afford it.) The other half is coming from DC school funds. Whether those funds were from local property taxes or from Federal payments is difficult to say (cash is fungible); it probably doesn't really matter.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I think Emily has the right idea. Spend the money on good teachers.

Posted by: anne | September 16, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous: I am with you. I was just addressing the people who are complaining that it is their tax dollars being spent. It is highly likely, if you live outside of DC, you are not paying at all.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 16, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Kids in "economically disadvantaged" areas don't see the connection between good grades, a good post-secondary education and a good salary. So why not show it to them, on a smaller scale? Get good grades, get a financial reward. Being rewarded 10 or 15 years down the road doesn't provide any real incentive for them. But they can see to an end-of-semester reward.

The job of parents and schools is to prepare kids to be adults and function in the adult world. So why is it that the kids/school world usually operates exactly the opposite of the adult world?

Why do you go to work every day? Because it's so satisfying or because you get paid? Why do you work hard and try to stand out? Just for the fun of it or because you want a promotion and increased salary?

In the adult world, good performance is rewarded financially. Since we're supposed to be teaching them to be adults, why not reward kids financially for good performance?

Posted by: Sensible | September 16, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

What a lot of people tend to forget is that in poorer families, kids HAVE to bring in money while in high school. I worked or I would never get to participate in after school events or even buy new clothes. If my school system had this in place for me, I surely would have done better because I could have made money for focusing on school instead of working till 10 or 11 and then having to find time to cram in homework and stay awake in class.

Of course the grades drop off again when they stop paying them, the kids have to go back to work. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that when a kid works nights there is less time for them for homework and sleep. Two key things required for good grades.

Posted by: Kim | September 16, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

No teacher I know makes anything like $60K a year.

Posted by: @waste of money | September 16, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

As a teacher I hate the idea of connecting grades to money. There is already so much pressure from kids/parents to "up" a kids grade when it is close to a higher grade. I can't imagine how miserable it will be for the teacher who insists on giving a kid a B when they are only 1% point (or even less) away from an A.

Posted by: teacher | September 16, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

My parents paid my brothers and I for good grades on report cards. $100 bucks if we had all As. If not, we got paid depending on what year of school we were in for an A, half that for a B, and half that for a C. If we were in 10th grade, we got $10 for every A, $5 for every B, and $2.50 for a C. Nothing if we were drowning below 'C' level.

This worked out well because we were paid more as we got older. My parents explained to us that being a student was our job and we got paid for doing out job well. If we did really well, all As, we would get a bonus. And like a job, we would get raises (as we went to higher grade levels).

Posted by: FfxGal | September 16, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion (non-researched, completely biased to my worldview), having the parents involved in the education process would produce better results.

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:18 AM

Duh! Any suggestions as to how to get the parents of at-risk kids involved in the education process?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Come on people, you know Nancy is just some loser trying to be funny and yank your chains.
I mean no one could be that ignorant, that racist, that obnoxious of a loser and be a real person. Could she??

Posted by: ANON | September 16, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

When my son was in his junior high school years, one of his friends was at my house bragging about how his parents paid him for good grades on his report card. He asked what I gave my son for his good grades. I explained that I gave my son food, clothing, and shelter daily and if his grades dropped I would take at least one of those three away.
School systems paying kids for getting good grades is ludicrous. Any student who is not able to see how getting a good education will benefit him or her is probably too dumb or too ignorant to be paid for getting good grades or anything else.

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Why do you go to work every day? Because it's so satisfying or because you get paid? Why do you work hard and try to stand out? Just for the fun of it or because you want a promotion and increased salary?"

I work for money, but I don't make much. My husband, too. Our kids see us gripe a little about the pay, but smile a lot about how rewarding our jobs are.
Their dad is so good at his job he's kind of a neighborhood celebrity. The implicit lesson is there is indeed satisfaction in a job well done.
Also, hopefully, they'll go to grad school and get more lucrative jobs than their pop and me.
Paying for grades may tip a smart but unmotivated student toward working harder. But there has to be more than one motivation.

Posted by: mom of teens | September 16, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

What a lot of people tend to forget is that in poorer families, kids HAVE to bring in money while in high school. I worked or I would never get to participate in after school events or even buy new clothes. If my school system had this in place for me, I surely would have done better because I could have made money for focusing on school instead of working till 10 or 11 and then having to find time to cram in homework and stay awake in class.

Posted by: Kim | September 16, 2008 11:24 AM

Perhaps if your parents would have gotten a job instead of working the welfare system, you wouldnt have had that problem why should the rest of us have to give our tax dollars to give you spending cash you if your parents wont?

Posted by: | September 16, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I mean no one could be that ignorant, that racist, that obnoxious of a loser and be a real person. Could she??

Posted by: ANON | September 16, 2008 11:30 AM


Pretty sure we've got a lot of people vying for that title on this blog.

Posted by: whatev | September 16, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Any student who is not able to see how getting a good education will benefit him or her is probably too dumb or too ignorant to be paid for getting good grades or anything else.

Wow, you really have an ignorant short sighted world view don't you? It's not that kids don't realize they need an education it's that they have lives that are likely more stress filled than most adults will ever feel. You try concentrating on school when you live around the poverty level, worried about when you and your siblings will have food again, having to walk through drug and crime invested neighborhoods to get to school and back, worried about your parents that are either drug addicted or work 2 or 3 jobs just to keep a roof over your head.

For them? That $100+ they can make which their parents can't access and use on things other than food and clothing would make a HUGE difference in keeping them in school.

Try thinking out of your little box please.

Posted by: Kim | September 16, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"In my opinion (non-researched, completely biased to my worldview), having the parents involved in the education process would produce better results.

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:18 AM

Duh! Any suggestions as to how to get the parents of at-risk kids involved in the education process?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 11:29 AM "

I have NO idea! Which is why I didn't offer any suggestions. Whatever committee came up with the pay students idea, should look into that too!


"In the adult world, good performance is rewarded financially. Since we're supposed to be teaching them to be adults, why not reward kids financially for good performance?

Posted by: Sensible | September 16, 2008 11:22 AM "

Because the parents have access to the money and if they are "Kids in "economically disadvantaged" areas" their parents will be spending the money on things the parents need. Granted, maybe this will help make the parents interested in the kids performance in school (as above).

Posted by: Waste of Money | September 16, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps if your parents would have gotten a job instead of working the welfare system, you wouldnt have had that problem why should the rest of us have to give our tax dollars to give you spending cash you if your parents wont?

My mother NEVER got welfare. She worked long hours as a single parent to keep a roof over my head in a good neighborhood (which in case you haven't noticed in Northern Virginia costs a lot). Her salary was spent on food, medical bills and rent. She did the best she could without ever asking for handouts. As do most of the poorer families that you clearly know nothing about.

Posted by: Kim | September 16, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

My parents paid my brothers and I for good grades on report cards. $100 bucks if we had all As. If not, we got paid depending on what year of school we were in for an A, half that for a B, and half that for a C. If we were in 10th grade, we got $10 for every A, $5 for every B, and $2.50 for a C. Nothing if we were drowning below 'C' level.


Posted by: FfxGal | September 16, 2008 11:28 AM

That should be "My parents paid my brothers and ME for good grades on report cards." Grammar school stuff.

Posted by: LOL!!! | September 16, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

By the way, one of the definitons of "ethnic" in the Merriam Webster dictionary is a group of people with a common language, cultural origin, racial background, etc. Nothing in the definition limits it to blacks or hispanics or whatever race. Interestingly, the first definition of "ethnic" in this same book is "HEATHEN".

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Come on people, you know Nancy is just some loser trying to be funny and yank your chains.
I mean no one could be that ignorant, that racist, that obnoxious of a loser and be a real person. Could she??

Posted by: ANON | September 16, 2008 11:30 AM

Duh, yes. It's pATRICK.

Posted by: Anon for this | September 16, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

My tax dollars as a non parent wouldn't be used to fund a program for parents who also don't want to be responsible for their own kids' education either, right?

Posted by: Sandy H | September 16, 2008 8:08 AM

Nice sound bite. Now for some actual facts.

The only parents who are responsible for their own kids' education are homeschooling parents. Every other parent may support the schools and encourage their kids but they are not RESPONSIBLE for their kids education. That responsibility belongs to the teachers and the kids.

Posted by: Lisa | September 16, 2008 10:29 AM

I'm not sure what world Lisa lives in, but in this place we call reality parents ARE the ones who have ULTIMATE responsibility over their kids' education. Often the reason kids don't learn is b/c the parents don't support respectful behaviour in school and the teachers can't teach if they are babysitting. It is squarely and firmly on the shoulders of parents to make sure their kids are well-educated. After all, you had them, it was your choice, so take responsibility for them.

Posted by: umm | September 16, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I actually think that Rhee is onto something. When working with an economically disadvantaged population, you have to think outside the box. The middle and wealthier classes do see a direct connection between getting a good education and economic success. I don't think the kids in poorer neighborhoods necessarily have that experience. So show kids how education can help them earn money and pay for really good teachers. It just might work. And it certainly is better than the status quo, which is a total failure and a worse waste of money. Something has to change, and I admire Rhee for having the guts to take a stand and do something.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

What's the purpose of posting a departure speech whilst you exit? You're not Sylvia Plath, Juliet, or anyone else gifted and departing. At the end of your life, I hope you are a little less trite and glib with your insults.

Posted by: Carm Down, Fatty | September 16, 2008 11:18 AM


Are you as stupid as your handle? How do you know who is posting? For all you know, we've got Nobel Prize winners on here. I mean, obviously, you're not one of those. Do you really think you KNOW who's on here?

Posted by: jass | September 16, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

After all, you had them, it was your choice, so take responsibility for them.

Posted by: umm | September 16, 2008 11:46 AM

Hello, these are AT RISK kids!!!!

Posted by: Oh, brother!!! | September 16, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if it will work, but I certainly tried to get my parents to buy into this when I was younger. I was a straight-A student so I knew I could make some serious cash. My parents laughed then told me that getting A's isn't an achievement, it's an expectation.

Oh well. I guess that type of mentality no longer exists.

Posted by: DinahS | September 16, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"After all, you had them, it was your choice, so take responsibility for them."

Actually, I did not have those kids in the at risk neighborhoods, someone else did. But I strongly believe that I, along with the rest of society, need to take responsibility for them. I would much rather spend my money on schools now than on prisons later on.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if it will work, but I certainly tried to get my parents to buy into this when I was younger. I was a straight-A student so I knew I could make some serious cash. My parents laughed then told me that getting A's isn't an achievement, it's an expectation.

Oh well. I guess that type of mentality no longer exists.

Posted by: DinahS | September 16, 2008 11:53 AM

Bragging is forever.

Posted by: Bond | September 16, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

then feed them your "special" spinach!

Posted by: to Emily | September 16, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

There sure are a lot of Socialist on here whom seem to be more than willing to redistribute the working person's earnings through taxpayer funded, "feel good", no substance programs. I have no problem with them using their money/earnings for this, but "STAY AWAY FROM MINE!!!"

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

There sure are a lot of Socialist on here whom seem to be more than willing to redistribute the working person's earnings through taxpayer funded, "feel good", no substance programs. I have no problem with them using their money/earnings for this, but "STAY AWAY FROM MINE!!!"

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 12:01 PM

Gibberish! Are you related to altmom?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I think Nancy is the work of a very creative individual.

Hi Emily!

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 16, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Hi Whacky!! It's been too long. I love your new moniker.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh great. Fo4 and the spinach maniac are flirting again. Spare me.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It's only gibberish to the illiterate.

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the idea of a reward system is fine, but not cash. If the students getting the money are from poor families, there's no way the parents aren't going to get access to it, and I don't think it's right to add the family's economic pressure like that on a kid. Many of them are under pressure to bring money home as it is - why add to it? And if the students are from middle-class or non-poor families, the families can generate the cash rewards themselves.

When I was in high school (the '70s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth), we had a reward system like the "cut cards" mentioned earlier. For having top grades and a good discipline record, you got in-school privileges, like not needing to be in a proctored study hall (you could go to the school library or sit outside on your own), leaving the grounds after your last class (no last-period study halls), or late-sign in if your first class wasn't first period. The number of perks you could earn went up for each grade. You earned the privileges and you were treated like an adult - that was a great incentive!

Also, the Phillies and one of the newspapers had a "Straight-A Student" contest each spring. If you had a straight-A report card, you sent in a copy to the team and you got two tickets to a game. The seats weren't great, but what a feeling of pride to be there and see the scoreboard brag about the Straight-A Section, and then hear the announcer call out the section and hear the fans cheer. (Yes, Philly phans do sometimes cheer.)

With all the sports groups, theatres, and museums in DC, maybe a few could offer incentives like tickets or behind-the-scene tours - a great reward for the kids and not at the expense of the school system at all.

Posted by: Leesburg, VA | September 16, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

There sure are a lot of Socialist on here whom seem to be more than willing to redistribute the working person's earnings through taxpayer funded, "feel good", no substance programs. I have no problem with them using their money/earnings for this, but "STAY AWAY FROM MINE!!!"

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 12:01 PM

What does that Jesus dude say?

Posted by: Tee hee | September 16, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

With all the sports groups, theatres, and museums in DC, maybe a few could offer incentives like tickets or behind-the-scene tours - a great reward for the kids and not at the expense of the school system at all.

Posted by: Leesburg, VA | September 16, 2008 12:19 PM

And the transportation to these events? These are AT RISK kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Two thoughts.

(1) Growing up, I'd probably get a smack upside the head for bringing home a C, not a cash payment. At least, I'd end up on the sofa for a talk about what my parents would view as an unacceptable grade. And that was probably somewhat before the days of grade inflation.

(2) There were always some children who were naturally gifted and invariably get A's, regardless of their efforts, and others who study hard and come up in the B range. Will the "smart" kids make a killing just because they have a high IQ, while others who work very hard are not rewarded? Maybe that is just the way things work in the real world, but something seems wrong with it.

Posted by: Smart? | September 16, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

At my son's elementary school, they have a readying incentive program that gives them a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut for readying every day (I think it's one pizza after you have collected 35 reading signatures - you have to read at least 10 minutes every night). At first, my son did it for the reward, but now, he loves to read because he has discovered that it's fun and entertaining. Maybe that's the point.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

And when these kids get to college and they have to pay out instead of getting a payoff - where will they be. These programs satisfy the instant gratification tendencies of these kids - what's wrong with working hard for the bigger pay out in the end?

Posted by: Lloyd | September 16, 2008 8:36 AM

Amen to that. This program might make kids get better grades (in the short run), but they will know nothing of learning for the sake of just being an informed citizen. I used to teach high school and middle school students, and you couldn't make them do anything without some sort of instant incentive. Most activities started with my description of what we would do followed by at least one student asking, "What do we get if we win?" "Knowledge" and "the satisfaction of knowing that you are a more informed person than you were when you walked in the door" were never the answers they wanted. They were looking for candy, money, or some sort of perk (e.g. extra free time). Have we learned nothing from our country's recent financial woes? Sometimes, when a deal looks too good to be true, it is, whether it's an interest only mortgage or paying kids off for doing things my generation did because we had to.

Posted by: Anon | September 16, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

At first, my son did it for the reward, but now, he loves to read because he has discovered that it's fun and entertaining. Maybe that's the point.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 12:24 PM

C'mon. These are AT RISK kids, have you been in their homes?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

No teacher I know makes anything like $60K a year.

Posted by: @waste of money | September 16, 2008 11:26 AM

Darwinism takes its course.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I think we are having a couple of conversations here. The one about at risk kids should be separate from the one about your average middle class kids who have involved parents. Should we pay middle class kids for good grades? Probably not necessary. The at risk kids should be handled differently, since, in effect, the school system has to step in and provide the needed motivation that they may not be getting at home. Different circumstances, different conversation.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

And when these kids get to college and they have to pay out instead of getting a payoff - where will they be. These programs satisfy the instant gratification tendencies of these kids - what's wrong with working hard for the bigger pay out in the end?

Come on. I am all for teaching kids to delay gratification, but you have to build some incentives into the system. We are talking about at risk kids. If the kids have absolutely no incentives at home to get good grades, the school should provide them. These are kids who probably don't have nintendos or Wiis, or who don't go to California Tortilla with their parents as a treat after soccer practice, or who don't get the extra little rewards that most kids get just because they were good that day. Expecting these kids to simply work hard with no rewards and just wait until they grow up for their reward is not reasonable. You have to create some incentives for them to work harder. And if cash works, then so be it.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Darwinism takes its course.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:30 PM

Anonymous social Darwinist? You ain't so bright.

Posted by: allow me to recommend reading "Origin of Species" | September 16, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

You have to create some incentives for them to work harder. And if cash works, then so be it.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 12:37 PM

The school-only incentives don't work in the long run. THAT'S the point. You can't read Shelley on an empty belly.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse


A perversion of learning. Will produce extrinsically motivated people who care little for the knowledge or their own intellect.

Posted by: Upwards | September 16, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

A perversion of learning. Will produce extrinsically motivated people who care little for the knowledge or their own intellect.

Posted by: Upwards | September 16, 2008 12:53 PM

Right. This country is loaded with people who care for knowledge/intellect. Check out the top-rated TV shows.

These are AT RISK kids! Do you know what that means?

Posted by: Wha? | September 16, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

What happend to teaching kids to love learning for the sake of learning. I went to a progressive school and that is a wonderful ideal. If you have to dangle a carrot in front of a child every time you want them to do something...what happens when the carrot isn't there anymore. Kids have an innate desire to learn, we just have to teach to that desire. We should probably pay the teachers more because then we will get even more and better people who go into education and can teach to that desire.

Posted by: HappyDad | September 16, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If it can get them to learn to read and write and graduate from high school and have some kind of potential for employment I say go for it.

Posted by: Me | September 16, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse


There sure are a lot of Socialist on here whom seem to be more than willing to redistribute the working person's earnings through taxpayer funded, "feel good", no substance programs. I have no problem with them using their money/earnings for this, but "STAY AWAY FROM MINE!!!"

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 12:01 PM

What does that Jesus dude say?

Posted by: Tee hee | September 16, 2008 12:20 PM


What is a Jesus "dude"? I thought mixing religion and government (public schools) were expressly forbidden by the Socialists of this country.

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The school-only incentives don't work in the long run. THAT'S the point. You can't read Shelley on an empty belly.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:47 PM

True, but you have to work with what you have. In these at risk populations, you don't have control over the home environment. What else would you suggest? You probably won't be able to change the parents, or the neighborhood. But you do have some control over the school environment, so you have to work with that. The only other choice is giving up.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Impostor, you are not funny.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

What is a Jesus "dude"? I thought mixing religion and government (public schools) were expressly forbidden by the Socialists of this country.

Posted by: John | September 16, 2008 1:06 PM

Ha, Ha! John, that should be "I thought mixing religion and government (public schools) was expressly forbidden by the Socialists of this country."


Posted by: Tee hee | September 16, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Rewarding students for coming to class, behaving properly, and doing well in school is like rewarding me for going to vote. Doing these things is part of the responsibility of being a student, especially at the high school level, and should be expected not rewarded.

Posted by: Nick | September 16, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Not for the paying kids for learning. How about a program that shows kids exactly what they might get for those good grades? As in, here are tons of scholarships to colleges and universities that you can get if you get good grades. And then show them the jobs they can get with the college degree. Spend the money on mentors for the kids. Spend the money on more field trips to places outside these kids lives. As mentioned above, other types of incentives, such as trips, going to baseball games that type of stuff.

Cause if you started paying my kids for grades, I'd say: well you have a job now - and it's paying really well, here's your share of the expenses. Or they'd have to buy their own clothes or whatever. Which might teach them a lesson in and of itself (cause if they ask me to pay for grades, they will have to then kick in 'their share' of paying for stuff).

But, then again, I was well aware that getting good grades meant I would get to a better school, and have more opportunities. These children need to be shown that - EVERY WEEK. Or every day or whatever. That there is a very easy way to get out of the poverty they are in - and that is to get an education. Get more counselors in the schools, more programs for the kids, rather than writing a check. Writing a check is easy, doing something is hard.

Posted by: atlmom | September 16, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

It never even entered our minds as kids.

OTOH, my wife's parents were so against the idea of paying kids for grades that they wouldn't even take her to the local Dairy Queen (which gave you a free dip cone if you had all B's or better).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

But Nick, when you don't know that that is one of the things you are responsible for, then you can't do it, can you? Children need to be taught. What, fewer than 50% of those eligible vote? So there you go...

Posted by: atlmom | September 16, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I myself am a proponent of the Schartz-Metterklume Method.

Posted by: johnshade | September 16, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Growing up, I'd probably get a smack upside the head for bringing home a C..."

The kids in the program that we are talking about get plenty of that kind of treatment in just about every area in their lives. Many live with families torn apart by violence. Many others have been removed from their families because of neglect and abuse. Crime, drugs, gangs, guns, prostitution, teenage pregnancy, this is part of their daily routine. Most see no way out, but there will be some that will escape the impoverished conditions. For those, they deserve all the incentives they can get.

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 16, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Not for the paying kids for learning. How about a program that shows kids exactly what they might get for those good grades? As in, here are tons of scholarships to colleges and universities that you can get if you get good grades. And then show them the jobs they can get with the college degree. Spend the money on mentors for the kids. Spend the money on more field trips to places outside these kids lives. As mentioned above, other types of incentives, such as trips, going to baseball games that type of stuff.

Cause if you started paying my kids for grades, I'd say: well you have a job now - and it's paying really well, here's your share of the expenses. Or they'd have to buy their own clothes or whatever. Which might teach them a lesson in and of itself (cause if they ask me to pay for grades, they will have to then kick in 'their share' of paying for stuff).

But, then again, I was well aware that getting good grades meant I would get to a better school, and have more opportunities. These children need to be shown that - EVERY WEEK. Or every day or whatever. That there is a very easy way to get out of the poverty they are in - and that is to get an education. Get more counselors in the schools, more programs for the kids, rather than writing a check. Writing a check is easy, doing something is hard.

Posted by: atlmom | September 16, 2008 1:12 PM

All of the above HAS been tried. It doesn't work when the parents aren't heavily involved.

Posted by: !! | September 16, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Correction: All of the above HAVE been tried. They don't work when the parents aren't heavily involved.

Posted by: !! | September 16, 2008 1:17 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

When I was growing up, I never got any rewards for good behavior. hat made me good for nothing!

Posted by: Pauvre Batard | September 16, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Emily, atlmom, atb and other here need to take up the teaching of "at risk" children. This will solve the problem.

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Emily, atlmom, atb and other here need to take up the teaching of "at risk" children. This will solve the problem.

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 1:26 PM

Teachers have very little impact on "at risk" children...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I can't teach. Don't have the temperament. But I have the utmost respect for good teachers. They are worth their weight in gold.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"there is a very easy way to get out of the poverty they are in..."

Atlmom, you are so out of touch on this one. These kids come from neighborhoods that you would fear for your life just by walking down the street. If you visited some of the schools in these districts, you would realize the reason for the despair.

"easy" - my donkey.

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 16, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Teachers have very little impact on "at risk" children...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:28 PM

On the contrary, smaller class size and experienced teachers are the two things that make DO make a measurable difference in test scores. Paying kids for grades remains an experiment.

Posted by: anne | September 16, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"there is a very easy way to get out of the poverty they are in..."

Atlmom, you are so out of touch on this one. These kids come from neighborhoods that you would fear for your life just by walking down the street. If you visited some of the schools in these districts, you would realize the reason for the despair.

"easy" - my donkey.

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 16, 2008 1:37 PM

Ditto.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Teachers have very little impact on "at risk" children...

Hogwash, I taught inner city youth for quite a while. Just the fact that many of my students had a relatively safe environment and continuity in their lives by having the same adult figure daily did propel some of my students to academic achievement.

Posted by: A Former Inner City Teacher | September 16, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Teachers have very little impact on "at risk" children...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:28 PM

On the contrary, smaller class size and experienced teachers are the two things that make DO make a measurable difference in test scores.

Posted by: anne | September 16, 2008 1:39 PM

For AT RISK kids? Where?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I myself am a proponent of the Schartz-Metterklume Method.

Posted by: johnshade | September 16, 2008 1:15 PM

************************

My dear Miss Hope! I trust you are exaggerating.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Emily, atlmom, atb and other here need to take up the teaching of "at risk" children. This will solve the problem.

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 1:26 PM

I agree. Bc they seem to know EVERYTHING and think their opinions/ideas are the solution to everything. Lets see how great their students turn out. LOL. they'll probably be all become addicts, thieves, users, and prositutes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Emily, atlmom, atb and other here need to take up the teaching of "at risk" children. This will solve the problem.

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 1:26 PM

I agree. Bc they seem to know EVERYTHING and think their opinions/ideas are the solution to everything. Lets see how great their students turn out. LOL. they'll probably be all become addicts, thieves, users, and prositutes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 1:58 PM

Grammar Police!!!

Posted by: Double LOL! | September 16, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The money given to children could be put to much better use; my mother works in a public elementary school, and through experience they school has seen a direct correlation between not only test scores, but also all around academics, and class size. This money could be put to hiring more teachers to lower class size.

Posted by: Eric | September 16, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I myself am a proponent of the Schartz-Metterklume Method.


//////////////////////////////////////////

A pretentious little story about pretentious parents and a pseudo-scientific teaching method with a very apparent comeuppance.

Oh Wait, it fits here perfectly!

Posted by: huh? | September 16, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I think folks are losing sight of the fact that this is being done in WDC as a research project. Data will be gathered, and a lot more will be known in a few years....

Chill out, for the sake of learning more about how to motivate kids.

Posted by: Marie | September 16, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. One day of Stacey monitoring the blog, and we're back to the same old Anons and imposters.

At least they could learn what the term "Army Brat" means. Just showing more ignorance right now.

On topic: this particular "experiment" worries me, but at this point it's probably worth a try. When the parents aren't involved (and aren't going to be), the neighborhood's not safe and the community's not helping, and everything else the school system has tried has failed, they have to try something new. Well, that or give up.

Why do I have the feeling that some of these nay-sayers would think that "give up" would be a good strategy?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 16, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Why do I have the feeling that some of these nay-sayers would think that "give up" would be a good strategy?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 16, 2008 2:23 PM


If Oprah & Cosby haven't worked, what will?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, AB. You have to keep on trying. I don't think it's a great idea among your typical set of middle class kids, but with these at risk populations, it might work. If it doesn't, then they should try something else. To me, giving up is not an option.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't teach. Don't have the temperament.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 1:29 PM

Easy cop out. Certainly, there is some skill of yours that can be used in a school with
"at risk" children. Pro Bono legal work? grading papers? Repainted classrooms?

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Easy cop out. Certainly, there is some skill of yours that can be used in a school with
"at risk" children. Pro Bono legal work? grading papers? Repainted classrooms?

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 2:36 PM


Doesn't matter. If the parents aren't involved, AT RISK kids don't succeed in school.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Simply put, we didn't have the money to be paid for grades. So yes, I got straight As (including 7 AP classes), but no I never got any direct reward from my mom except knowing she was happy about it.

This wasn't always easy, one of my classmates made straight As for a single quarter and got a new car because of it.

But there's no reason to deny people what I can't have.

I really dislike money for attendance- of course good attendance is important to learn, but there's a big problem with students burning out and going to school sick. We don't want to teach another generation that they need to sacrifice health and can't take a few days for mental health and life balance.

And mostly I dislike that so much money is being spent on this rather than teachers or supplies or new books or music programs or so many other parts that really make an enriching process. Driving up grades looks nice on paper, but that doesn't mean it's an A experience.

Posted by: Liz D | September 16, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I have lots of skills I can and do use to further causes I believe in. Teaching is not my strength though.

What's your strength? The ability to write smug, condescending blog entries surely can be parlayed into something worthwhile. I'm sure you'll come up with something eventually, between the witty zingers and useless snide comments.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

okay, off-topic I know, but I gotta respond to this one:

"Gibberish! Are you related to altmom?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:03 PM "

Okay, let's try this again. She doesn't use the handle "altmom." It's "atlmom."

That's "atl" as in the abbreviation and airport code for Atlanta. Because that's where she lives, see, so she's an "Atlanta mom" or "atlmom" for short.

Atlanta. The capital of Georgia. Home of the Braves, CNN and the Ramblin' Wreck? Surely, you must have heard of it at SOME point?

Georgia. The US state, in the south. You know, just above Florida. No, NOT the place that the Russians just invaded. It's in the US, even if sometimes they don't talk like it.

NO, THE RUSSIANS DID NOT INVADE THE US! That's another Georgia whose capital is Tbilisi, not Atlanta. She's not "tbilisimom."

No, the Cubans did not invade Georgia after coming through Florida, either. Would you please pay attention here? Look at a map. Look at Google maps or Yahoo! maps or something, fer cryin' out loud.

So, okay, you got it now. It's "atlmom" not "altmom."

Well, at least SHE posts more useful comments than

"Gibberish! Are you related to altmom?"

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 16, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Driving up grades looks nice on paper, but that doesn't mean it's an A experience.

Posted by: Liz D | September 16, 2008 2:40 PM

Brag, brag, brag. These are AT RISK kids!!!!

Posted by: Sheesh | September 16, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

okay, off-topic I know, but I gotta respond to this one:

"Gibberish! Are you related to altmom?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 12:03 PM "

Okay, let's try this again. She doesn't use the handle "altmom." It's "atlmom."

That's "atl" as in the abbreviation and airport code for Atlanta. Because that's where she lives, see, so she's an "Atlanta mom" or "atlmom" for short.

Atlanta. The capital of Georgia. Home of the Braves, CNN and the Ramblin' Wreck? Surely, you must have heard of it at SOME point?

Georgia. The US state, in the south. You know, just above Florida. No, NOT the place that the Russians just invaded. It's in the US, even if sometimes they don't talk like it.

NO, THE RUSSIANS DID NOT INVADE THE US! That's another Georgia whose capital is Tbilisi, not Atlanta. She's not "tbilisimom."

No, the Cubans did not invade Georgia after coming through Florida, either. Would you please pay attention here? Look at a map. Look at Google maps or Yahoo! maps or something, fer cryin' out loud.

So, okay, you got it now. It's "atlmom" not "altmom."

Well, at least SHE posts more useful comments than

"Gibberish! Are you related to altmom?"

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 16, 2008 2:44 PM

Save the geography lesson for Sarah Palin. Please give an example of a USEFUL comment from atlmom. Doesn't Atlanta have the fattest people in the country?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Making Motherhood Look Too Easy.
Second: Reliable, quality daycare. Women simply cannot go to work without it. I wish I could honestly say men can’t go to work without it, either. But we all know their solution: they schedule business trips or simply shower early and skedaddle to predawn meetings in order to moot the issue of who is responsible for the kids. Or, ala Bill Cosby’s hilarious comedy routine, act like such idiots around young children we are terrified to leave them in charge. And although, like Palin, some of us have sisters, mothers and aunts willing to pitch in, a lot of those women have fulltime jobs and fulltime children themselves.

Third: The need for employers to respect that moms need to be moms first and employees second. When a child is sick, we need to be able to care for him or her. Period. We can be good employees and good moms simultaneously, but we need a little kindness, consideration and flexibility to pull it off. Simple things like the freedom to bring a nursing infant or well-behaved teenager to work upon occasion. The ability to telecommute if needed, or to work a 7-3 shift instead of 9-5. Promotions and pay raises for results achieved, not face time. Plentiful off-ramps and on-ramps when we need a break in order to be present for our kids for a few months, or years, if our families need us. Since some kids have trouble scheduling their neediness between 7-9 pm every other Wednesday.

So Sarah, put on some more lipstick. Keep telling it like it is. But don’t forget about the real moms out here who most days don’t have time for makeup and speeches.

Posted by: Leslie's blog is more interesting | September 16, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Liz D (the 'wiki king' strikes again :-)

In response to your comment: "And mostly I dislike that so much money is being spent on this rather than teachers or supplies or new books or music programs or so many other parts that really make an enriching process. Driving up grades looks nice on paper, but that doesn't mean it's an A experience."

my problem is this: according to the National Center for Education Statistics, DC already spends far more per pupil than most school districts. According to http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/revexpdist06/tables.asp for the 2005/2006 school year, DC spent $13,466 per pupil. The only states whose median expenditures were higher than that were New York and Alaska. (And that was before Palin tripled spending on special-needs students.) Yes, there are school districts that spend more than DC does, but not too many.

So it's not like the District is taking precious money that's desperately needed elsewhere, especially when Harvard's kicking in half of it.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 16, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I have lots of skills I can and do use to further causes I believe in. Teaching is not my strength though.

Like I said before, there are lots of activities that support teaching if you do not have the temperament for actual teaching.

With your strong opinions you have stated today on this subject, I would think it is one of your "causes."

(And if I goad you into thinking about doing something about schooling, I will have succeeded here.)

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Put your words into action - Perhaps you think you need to goad me, but let me spell it out to you that I already am active in that cause. Which is probably why I am so opinionated about it.

Posted by: Emily | September 16, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

So Sarah, put on some more lipstick. Keep telling it like it is. But don’t forget about the real moms out here who most days don’t have time for makeup and speeches.


Posted by: Leslie's blog is more interesting | September 16, 2008 2:58 PM

Leslie's marriage is on the rocks...

Posted by: Big deal | September 16, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Good, maybe others will be similarly motivated today.

Posted by: Put your words into action | September 16, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Put your money where your mouth is. Are you similarly motivated?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Is that you, Patrick E?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Put your money where your mouth is. Are you similarly motivated?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 3:19 PM

I hope you're not directing this to AB. Bc i dont want to be anywhere near where his mouth has been!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous, we don't want to be anywhere near where your hand has been.

Posted by: OP regular | September 16, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

good one, OP regular...good one

Posted by: dotted | September 16, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

This is certainly worth trying, but I'm less supportive of $ for attendance than $ for good grades, though I'm also worried about grade inflation. Will 90% of the students now get As, whether they deserve them or not? Worst case scenario, DC loses a bit of money. Best case scenario, some students catch the education bug. There is no across-the-board fix, so you might as well try what you can.

I have 3 years of experience teaching science to students and teachers in Birmingham public middle and high schools. Judging by all the pregnant 14 year olds I met, I'm guessing these kids would be considered "at risk." I was a transient part of their lives, so I don't know how many stopped going to school, but it was probably a significant number. So, that's what I've done for the "at risk" youth in schools. I'm currently on track to move into science education policy and curriculum, which is truly my passion.

So, what, exactly have you done, anon?

Posted by: atb | September 16, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

OP regular (1)

Anonymous (0)

Posted by: Lynne | September 16, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

This is certainly worth trying, but I'm less supportive of $ for attendance than $ for good grades, though I'm also worried about grade inflation. Will 90% of the students now get As, whether they deserve them or not? Worst case scenario, DC loses a bit of money. Best case scenario, some students catch the education bug. There is no across-the-board fix, so you might as well try what you can.

I have 3 years of experience teaching science to students and teachers in Birmingham public middle and high schools. Judging by all the pregnant 14 year olds I met, I'm guessing these kids would be considered "at risk." I was a transient part of their lives, so I don't know how many stopped going to school, but it was probably a significant number. So, that's what I've done for the "at risk" youth in schools. I'm currently on track to move into science education policy and curriculum, which is truly my passion.

So, what, exactly have you done, anon?

Posted by: atb | September 16, 2008 4:23 PM

good lord, SHUT UP atb and atlmom! i dont know if you two are the same person or not, but honestly, you two constantly post these diatribes that no one wants to read.

Posted by: cindy | September 16, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

good lord, SHUT UP atb and atlmom! i dont know if you two are the same person or not, but honestly, you two constantly post these diatribes that no one wants to read.

Posted by: cindy | September 16, 2008 4:31 PM
I wonder if cindy thinks here diatribe is any better? LOL

Posted by: Pot meet kettle | September 16, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I count ONE post today by atb, and it was by definition shorter than yours since you repeated it as a portion of your own).

OP regular (2)
Trolls (0)

Posted by: OP regular | September 16, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I have been in the classroom - teaching with junior achievement. Hoping to be back this year.

There *was* something that happened several years ago - it wasn't an experiment but it turned out to be one. A rich millionaire went back to his elementary school - which was in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, I don't remember if it was Chicago or NYC or what...- and he promised one class of kids in a fifth grade that if they got into college, he would pay for it. So that was 30 kids in one of the most impoverished parts of that city. He hired tutors and people to help - he followed each child through high school with counselors and what not. Each of those students - with just the HOPE of college - made sure they got into college. And not only did they achieve the acceptance of college...most of them received scholarships, so the millionaire didn't even have to pay. And the children who didn't have the promise in that high school as in many other schools, were not motivated to do well, because they didn't see the reason for it.

Posted by: atlmom | September 16, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The Grammar Sheriff is issuing citations to both Cindy and Pot.


Cindy for inappropriate use and non-use of upper case and apostrophes. (Try capitalizing the beginning of your sentences.)

Pot for not capitalizing a proper name and not knowing the difference between "here" and "her,".

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | September 16, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat: Your post made my day.

Actually it's kinda funny - but because CNN is headquartered here, all the inane things that might only be local, end up being national news (runaway bride, anyone?). so it looks like the people here are mired in silly stories - when it is probably the same as elsewhere - but really, you have to put SOMETHING on the air when you run 24/7.

Posted by: atlmom | September 16, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

so it looks like the people here are mired in silly stories - when it is probably the same as elsewhere

You think Atlanta doesn't get a disproportionate level of weird New York, DC and LA news stories for the same reason?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Paying kids to get good grades is idiotic. I don't know if I'm allowed to endorse a book here but read Tim Russert's book "Big Russ and Me" if you want a good guide to the right way to teach values to kids. His father taught him that you worked if you needed money, you studied because you were supposed to, you treated other people with respect and you suffered the consequences if you did anything wrong.

What will we do next, pay people not to commit crimes? With the economy the way it is, I could really use a monthly "I'm not going to murder anyone" check.

Posted by: SpareTheRod | September 16, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Once upon a time attending school was a privilege, not a right. Kids who didn't do well in school could be taken out of school and put to work by their parents.

Posted by: to SpareTheRod | September 16, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Once upon a time attending school was a privilege, not a right. Kids who didn't do well in school could be taken out of school and put to work by their parents.

Posted by: to SpareTheRod | September 16, 2008 5:01 PM

Don't forget that the parents got to keep their kids' wages.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat: Your post made my day.

Actually it's kinda funny - but because CNN is headquartered here, all the inane things that might only be local, end up being national news (runaway bride, anyone?). so it looks like the people here are mired in silly stories - when it is probably the same as elsewhere - but really, you have to put SOMETHING on the air when you run 24/7.

Posted by: atlmom | September 16, 2008 4:44 PM

wow, ANOTHER, terrific and well-thought out post by atlmom. thanks for sharing your VALUED opinion. we all count the minutes, i mean seconds, between your posts. one tip i'd love to hear from you is how you manage to actually parent your children when you're posting idiotic comments to a blog every 2 seconds.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous, we wonder how you manage to hold down a job when you're busy posting so profusely here, and copying and pasting elsewhere.

OP regular (3)
Troll (0)

Posted by: OP regular | September 16, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous,
I think it's time to take your medication. Afterwards, we can go for a walk in the gardens for a few minutes. If you're really good, I'll even let you take off the straightjacket.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous,
I think it's time to take your medication. Afterwards, we can go for a walk in the gardens for a few minutes. If you're really good, I'll even let you take off the straightjacket.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:27 PM

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous,
I think it's time to take your medication. Afterwards, we can go for a walk in the gardens for a few minutes. If you're really good, I'll even let you take off the straightjacket.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:27 PM

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:29 PM

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

It seems like Anonymous is going through a little bit of a schizophrenic episode. LOL

Posted by: funny | September 16, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

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