Poor Rheesoning on paying pupils

Liam Julian DC Examiner Columnist writes:

Your child will not eat his broccoli. He ignores your entreaties, scoffs at your demands. And so, rather than discipline the scamp, you decide to pay him $100 for every month that he chokes down the vegetable. Plainly put: You bribe him.

Such a parenting strategy is likely to produce a hellion, of course—a juvenile who will learn nothing important and enduring about nutrition, behavior, obedience, personal responsibility, or authority.

And yet, this is exactly the type of misguided educating strategy that Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is poised to enact in the capital city’s classrooms.

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10 responses to “Poor Rheesoning on paying pupils

  1. Yes, we will be following these students for life; it’s known as a paycheck. It’s what gets most of us up in the morning. Michelle Rhee is a hero for not caving in the face of so much rhetoric. These are students for whom nothing else has worked. They can make money by skipping school and at best working at McDonalds, at worst making money illegally (too many options in this category to list here). We have been offering incentives to students for years. Check out the well researched program called Positive Behavior Support: http://www.pbis.org. All that DC is doing differently is recognizing that extra recess or a movie during class on Fridays is not a motivator for this particular population of Middle Schoolers. Wake Up! Look at student scores and drop out rates in these schools. How dare we sit in our Ivory towers (or Union meetings) and damn these severely marginalized students to a life of crime and/or minimum wage jobs. Give her a chance. Our children deserve it.

  2. Sick of Ignorance

    I am sure that the Michelle Rhees and Chancellor Kleins bank on the fact that there are many people like you will defend their poorly thought out decisions leaving them free to engage in policy making that will marginalize these students even more.

    Paying students to go to school tells them that someone is constantly going to reward them for the things that they SHOULD be doing on a daily basis. What next, pay them to shower? Education is a PRIVILEGE and maybe the best way to get students into class would be to instill in them that what they gain through getting a proper education is invaluable and worth way more than $100. Maybe if we as a society start treating education like a priority- if we teach parents that buying a notebook is more important than buying an iPod- maybe their children will get the picture. There is so much more that can be done to get students into class- how about making parents take responsibility for their children again. How about fining parents or reducing public assistance benefits if their children don’t go to class. How about we stop providing students with everything they want, and give them what they need.

    How about we think for a minute.

  3. Research shows that positives work better than negatives. I don’t think these students come from homes where the parents will buy them an iPod instead of a book. Let’s look at the FACTS. The program is part of a study being run by Harvard professors (and the study is paying for half of the cost). This incentive plan includes opening savings accounts for all of the students and teaching them money management skills. It is not a free for all. It is well thought out and yes, experimental. If it doesn’t work we haven’t lost much, but if it works and students come to school, wear their uniforms, pay attention, and do their work (required to earn the points that equate to dollars at the end of the month) then we will be making great gains.

    If you’ve never worked with this population, then I don’t think you could be expected to have a clue. Fining their parents money from their public assistance benefits?! Are you kidding. Who do you think will still purchase drugs and alcohol and who will go without the food or school clothes? Don’t impose your lifestyle -related belief system on others whom you clearly know nothing about. And, let’s not forget the parents whom we are so blithely commenting on… many can’t type, let alone log on to the internet with a computer.
    They are effectively silenced from this public forum. Michelle Rhee is a champion for the poor and underserved. She should be given the credit that she deserves.

  4. Gavin, are you a teacher?

  5. Yes.

  6. A teacher in an inner city?

  7. And when these little bought-off children get older and still haven’t learned the intrinsic value of hard work and study followed by more hard work and more study to acquire some really marketable skills, they’ll still be on the wrong side of walled communities and fancy buildings with security guards and doormen. They’ll continue to get stopped by glass ceilings and social ostracism, and they’ll still find it difficult to move away from the the “wrong” side of the tracks.

    We need kids to hit the books, but we don’t need to suspend values that have served society for centuries to get them to do it.

    We need the community’s will to lower class size, provide a ton of early education and support services, and stop handing over the job of educating kids to non-educator corporate managers and a transient workforce that really believes teaching is just a temp job.

    Rheeform, maybe Gavin’s a blogger — even a teacher — who’s getting paid a $100 a pop for these PR posts. You think?

  8. I don ‘t know, but I’ve heard the same shortsighted speech so many times from non-educators.
    Never once have I heard it from someone who works in an inner city school.
    I’m not talking about someone who works there for a brief period of time and then leaves feeling proud that they got their hands dirty for a little while, but those of us who stick it out and develop a true understanding of the conditions that caused the problems in the first place.
    If Rhee has her way, there will be few people left like that.

  9. I hope you’re talking to Gavin, when you mention the same shortsighted speech. LOL.

  10. Yes, I was speaking to him.

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