Wednesday, August 08, 2007

You Gotta Have a Gimmick

It's now, it's wow. Let's give kids a few hundred bucks if they can do well on tests. Who knows? It might work. But there are those who feel differently:

Mrs. Windland wants Alexandra (her daughter) to do well for all the timeless reasons — to cultivate a love of learning, advance to more competitive schools and the like. She has on occasion bought her children toys or taken them out for dinner when they brought home pleasurable report cards, but she does not believe in dangling rewards beforehand.

I'll have to agree with Mrs. Windland. It's a kid's job to do well in school, and the rewards may not be immediate. Do we want our kids to expect 10 bucks an hour to practice the violin? To do chores around the house? To say "please" and "thank you?"

What about the kids who don't qualify?

“The kids who don’t get reimbursed are going to say, ‘Why should I bother!’ ” Mrs. Windland said.

Perhaps. But not everyone agrees.

There are parents who support the program. And Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein responds to skeptics by arguing that no one has figured out how to get more poorer children engaged in learning. Trumpeting the long-term benefits of education, the better jobs and lives well lived has not worked. Cash just might.

It just might. But good teachers, smaller classes and decent facilities might work as well. This, which seems to work well elsewhere, has been dismissed as prohibitively expensive not only by this administration, but by its predecessors as well. The CFE lawsuit, which promised precisely that, was rendered toothless by this mayor's absolute opposition to funding any part of it. Furthermore, in its most recent form, there's no oversight for this administration.

That's why we're throwing a few bucks at a few kids, rather than bettering the system for all.
blog comments powered by Disqus