Monday, November 12

Cash-for-kids plan starting to pay out

In the midst of all of the report card madness, the Post remembered to catch up with some of the children receiving payments for their performance in school as part of the DOE's new incentives initiative. The kids at MS 302 (percent of kids on grade level: 22; progress report grade: B) say they're studying more and excited about school because of the money. "I was thinking if I studied more, I'd get all the answers right, and I'd probably get more money," one girl told the Post.

I wouldn't go so far as anti-testing activist Jane Hirschmann, who told the Post that the payment plan is "about the worst thing I've ever had," but I do think the crude idea sounds even cruder from the mouths of children whose schools have obviously given up on teaching them to appreciate learning and studying for their own merits. At least there are "several students" who told the Post they have always worked hard and will continue doing so. It's just too bad they are buried at the end of the article when the Post might have put into public record what motivated students think kids need to want to succeed.


Seth said...

The Cash for kids debate has picked up again a little on the NYCSU listserv. Most are still vehemently against it but if you want the other side there was a really good article in slate (cant find the link) that basically argued that all students are going to school for superficial incentives (e.g. college) why not even the playing field? Im still unsure about this whole thing. Waiting for results.

Louis said...

I believe this to be the articel Seth is referring to:
as Seth says, right now its a "wait and see" kind of ballgame.

Alexander Russo said...

the real problem with the incentives program isn't the cash -- parents and teachers have been doing this for eons, and are themselves motivated in part by money.

the real problem is that the participating group isn't the group that most needs the cash -- a design problem that affects the entire NYC program (health, education, etc.).

for more on this see here:

Philissa said...

Alexander -- I thought I saw a DOE response on your blog saying that the design of the school incentives program is different from the non-school Opportunity NYC programs. I was under the impression that all kids need to be eligible for the cash rewards is to attend schools selected to participate -- is this not true?

Alexander Russo said...

i think there's more to it than that, philissa.

riffing off of a new york magazine article, i pointed out the self-selection problem (families chose the program, not the other way around) was serious.

the DOE's response, as i read it, is that it's not Fryer's fault -- he's only running his part of the larger NYC cares program. you can find it here:

they're not arguing that there is a selection problem, or that the education and other elements are different.

vanessa said...

I actually think that the incentive program that the NYC DOE has implemented does work. Kinds need to be motivated and it that motivation comes in the form of good grades or money, better yet.

Opportunity NYC has worked in other countries in both in Latin America and Europe. And Mayor Bloomberg wanted to pilot this program in NYC as well.

And though we have to wait to see if this program does work, I think Mayor Blomberg and Chancellor Klein do deserve some credit for wanting to motivate students to learn while improving graduation rates (remember that NYC has the worst graduation rate in the nation.