Students Get Paid for Making the GradeWednesday, April 15, 2009 By Meagan John (Sports Editor)
As summer approaches students begin to fall prey to the doldrum months of school. In an attempt to remedy this slump in grades many parents will offer incentives to their students for good grades. With incentives ranging from cell phone minutes to cars, movie tickets to cold hard cash, many question the dexterity of these practices. “My parents want me to do my best, but it’s nice to have some motivation to do better,” said junior, Dakota Dula. However, many students after raising their grade and collecting their “reward” will slip into the same bad habits because they haven’t developed any lasting study habits. It seems that it would be more helpful for parents to instruct their children in practicing good study skills and better homework habits rather than essentially “paying them off.” But is that necessarily a bad thing? Is it better for students to have a yo-yoing GPA or to be failing consistently throughout the year? Not only are parents giving incentives for good grades, but several schools in low-income neighborhoods are giving cash rewards for students with good grades. Because these kids are receiving a reward, they want to come to school to keep their grades high. Studies by TIME magazine have shown that students who receive these incentives are more likely to stay in school and make higher grades. Elementary-aged kids and college students alike are being offered incentives for good grades. Colleges have used this tactic to entice students and get them to come to their schools. Kirabo Jackson, an assistant professor of labor economics at Cornell who has studied cash incentives for high school students said, "By rewarding people for a GPA, you're actually giving them an impetus to take an easier route through college." Other critics note that students' internal drive to learn may be sapped as they focus on getting an external reward.