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Pay for grades?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Frank, May 26, 2011.

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  1. Frank

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    Ran across this article on paying kids to get better grades.

    Focus: Is compensating your child with money a good idea?

    To me it's a no brainer, as much as it would be nice for young kids to like learning for the sake of learning, most just aren't programmed that way. It's kind of funny if you think about it, but we basically expect kids to put their nose to the grind stone and work their asses off for their entire childhood with the vague notion that someday years down the road it will pay off. Most adults I know couldn't be convinced to work hard that way.

    I find it best to reward people, both children and adults, with very tangible short term incentives for what you want them to accomplish. As human beings that seems to be what we respond to best. Money is the most effective way to accomplish this. Maybe my career makes me biased since I get raises and bonuses every time I pass a test, but there is no question that I study harder now than I ever did in school.

    Alt-Focus: Growing up, how were you rewarded for good grades?

    Unfortunately my parents do not share my point of view, and despite an obvious aptitude in most subjects my grades were painstakingly average. Pretty much every progress report I had growing up had the message that I was passing but it was obvious I wasn't trying. The only thing I was ever 'given' was the vague notion that my parents would be proud of me or some crap.

    In sixth grade though, McDonald's did some promotion where if you bring in your report card at the end of the semester and have good grades, it was specific like $1 off for each A etc. Bam, straight A's. My parents were so proud and thought it was because of their parenting techniques despite my even telling them that I did it for the money. They didn't get the hint and still held steadfast in giving money for academic performance sent the wrong message. I went back to high C's and low B's.
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    I was rewarded with a speech that told me how much this was going to help me out when I became an adult.
     
  3. Nettdata

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    I wasn't rewarded for good grades, I was punished for bad grades.

    When I asked why I needed good grades, my folks basically said something along the lines of "sometimes you have to do things because you have to do things, no explanation... this is one of those things."
     
  4. Judas

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    I got the same treatment as Netdaddy. I would always ask, bring friends to try to set a precedent, but it never caught on in my family. Still made mostly A's.

    Cue my littlest sister going through school 6 years later getting 20 dollars if she got an all A's report card. She did it once.

    Fuck me right? I love being the oldest.
     
  5. sharald27

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    I agree that children should have some small incentive for hard work. Of course, at some point that would have to end because a kid needs to be able to realize that just because you do something really well-doesn't mean you'll get rewarded for it. From that article it said how kids from poor neighborhoods get money for good grades-and I'm thinking wouldn't it be better to make it a scholarship or something that goes back to the schooling? I mean, I'm sure they don't get extra cash just flowing everywhere but I feel like it might be a bigger beneficiary to help in the school atmosphere. (buy books, supplies, scholarships, etc.) I still support it either way, but I think the idea behind the incentive for kids in poor neighborhoods is to have them grow beyond where they think they can be. But I may be talking out of my ass so I'll stop there.

    Parents never gave me money for good grades...my parents are also teachers. And lucky for me, one is a teacher in math-so she always helped me study/reteach me things in science and math. My stepdad is a teacher in social studies, mostly history-so he helped me with social studies and English. I was very blessed to have parents that could tutor me in any subject. And before I say anything else, no they NEVER gave me answers or did homework for me. If you knew my mother, that would be committing the ultimate crime as "an educator".
    However... after school I used to go to my grandparents as a free day-care sort of deal. My parents taught at my high school which got out a few hours later than my grade/middle school and my mother being from Chicago-refused to let me stay at home a few hours by myself even after I was babysitting by 12. So when report cards came in-my cousins and I would show our grandparents first and you got $5 for every A. Always made at least $20 every few months (in grade school-you got grades every quarter). Grandma always made sure to slip it into our backpacks and not the report card so mom wouldn't see it. Grandparents really are the best...
     
  6. StayFrosty

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    Focus: Terrible idea. Kids need to learn that you have to put effort in to get money, but that should be in the vein of providing a service. You don't earn money by fulfilling the responsibilities of 1) Improving your own future and 2) Acknowledging that your teachers are putting in their own effort to help you learn, and doing your own part. Yes, half of the classes you take in high school will be useless in a wide variety of professions, but that doesn't mean you can just let your brain be lazy. Working at earning good grades is its own payoff.


    Alt-focus: Same as with Nett and Judas, bad grades equaled punishment. Anything as low as a B or C was met with "But you can do so much better!". Lower meant being grounded or going to bed early without dinner.
     
  7. Crown Royal

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    I was a little over-watched because I'm an only child. If I got bad grades, it must be because I'm not paying attention so no TV for a month until improvement kicks in. However, if I "passed" my school year in June, I was given a gift usually, like a golf bag or Blue Jays tickets and whutnot. My parents were tough, but very fair people.
     
  8. Juice

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    I was given 10 bucks for every A until the end of high school. In college, if my graduating GPA was a 3.7 or higher, my parents were going to send me on a trip to Europe for my graduation present. I got a 3.73 and they never made good on the promise. Fuckers.
     
  9. lostalldoubt86

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    I didn't get money, but if I got enough As and Bs, my parents would buy me something. Also, Pizza Hut used to give a free personal-pan pizza to kids who got As. That on top of BookIt, and I was rolling in free pizza.

    As for if I think it's a good idea, I believe the thinking behind it is to make school feel like a legitimate job. Good work gets rewarded with money "just like in the real world." Most kids do not give enough of a shit about school, so if the school district has the money, why not? I've read the article, but I still don't really see the downside. If someone wants to explain it, please feel free.
     
  10. Dyson004

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    Focus: I think setting up a token economy is a good way to encourage kids to get good grades. Positive reinforcement tends to be more effective than punishment, but I think a good system utilizes both. As far as the idea that learning is its own reward, I would agree. There are some children who naturally have a love of learning and even a smaller subset that understand the implications of good education, but a token economy is a good way to encourage a student of average abilities and average motivation to work harder, but I don't think it's absolutely essential. There are other ways to motivate kids, though they require more time and energy.

    Alt. Focus: My parents had a system set up during elementary and middle school. A grade of "A" was worth five dollars. A grade of "B" was worth four dollars. Anything lower than a "B" and you received no money whatsoever. They stopped this my 9th or 10th grade year because my family was hurting for money.

    There was a huge emphasis on education in my household because my father's formal education ended with a mechanic's certification (or maybe an associates degree) from the local community college and my mother finished high school, but she did not graduate. (I only recently found out that my father was in Medical School back in Vietnam.) During my childhood- my parents would use my father as an example, saying "You need to get a good education so you don't have to work so hard like your father." My father was a mechanic and it wasn't unusual for him to take service calls and spend his nights working on tractor trailers that had broken down in the middle of nowhere. He was typically gone before I woke up and came home late. Their emphasis on education worked pretty well. I'm currently in graduate school working on my PhD in Clinical Psychology...but I've come to the realization that the work I do isn't easier than what my father did, it's simply a different kind of work.
     
  11. sartirious

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    My parents took this same route, and I don't feel it worked at all.

    During my first year at college, the assistant dean came to each and every freshman lecture and gave a speech that was absolutely on the money. He said that a full courseload of classes should be treated like a full-time job. Even if you're only in class for 3-4 hours on any given day, you should be putting in AT LEAST as much time into the coursework outside of class if you want to succeed. I didn't take him seriously, because I didn't know any better.

    I feel that there is a increasing curve when it comes to the effort required and the results when it comes to most things. Because I was able to put in hardly any effort and still pass in high school, I never learned that in order to do more than merely pass - it requires exponentially more work. I plan on doing everything I can to teach my children this from day one. If they decide that it the rewards aren't work the price of admission for whatever it is they're involved with - so be it. But they WILL know the price, and the payoff.
     
  12. ghettoastronaut

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    I kind of understand the principle that kids shouldn't need money to do well in school, but at the same time, it's a matter of results. If giving your kid, say, a cumulative two hundred dollars over the course of their elementary and high school education is what makes the difference between doing just okay and getting into the university they want with a scholarship, then you'd be an idiot not to do it.

    As for me, I never enjoyed such positive reinforcement. Maybe there was a dinner at Swiss Chalet after report cards came out and I didn't do too terrible (and my sister and brother would come along too so it wasn't just about me). That said, I never did particularly well for most of school. Probably because I was just apathetic. Interestingly, I did start to do rather well in my last two years of high school. Well enough to get a sizeable scholarship going into university. The difference? I switched to a school where the other students were smart and motivated and wanted to do well in school and get into university rather than slack off the whole time and get into gangs or whatever else; the other part of it was that university was looming and there was suddenly an end stage to be reached. And some of the teachers were really great. I suppose for young kids who are far removed from university and school being a choice (and something to be enthusiastic about), you need to give them a few bucks with each report card to motivate them. And as long as it's just a few bucks, there isn't too much harm. But the more ideal way is to set up a good learning environment where kids have, you know, good role models, aren't hindered by students in the back of the class ruining it for everyone else, and have teachers who can convey passion for a subject. But that would cost more than a few bucks each report card, wouldn't it.
     
  13. Hoosiermess

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    ALT FOCUS: My parents were/are as stingy as they come. I would get a dollar for every A, nothing for B's, I would be charged a dollar for every C, two dollars for every D, and I would imagine three dollars and a beating for every F if I had earned any.

    I ended up doing pretty well (meaning I would make a few bucks on every report card) but now my nieces get PAID for their grades, guesstimating $30-40. Inflation is a bitch.
     
  14. tempest

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    I was rewarded by not having to endure endless speeches and a beating. For serious.
     
  15. Nettdata

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    I have to wonder what kind of a message this is sending these kids... that's it's only worth doing something well if you're getting rewarded for it?
     
  16. Kubla Kahn

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    I had the offer of 10 bucks per A, 5 per B, and nothing at all if I got a C or lower. They also offered 100 bucks for straight As. I got all As once in 2nd grade and blew my hundo on a Sega CD. Boohyaaa! I think it is a good motivator but it can't be the only one. Outside of the money incentive my parents didn't push me at all, they made sure I didnt fail but never put emphasis on future goals like the ACT/SAT or college entrances. My mom pushed me hard enough on homework so that I wasn't failing but that was about it. Otherwise I could have given a fuck all about schoolwork. I think money can be one good motivator but you also need to teach kids multiple rolls of hard work and doing well. Once I hit high school and got my own job the prospect of 30-40 bucks every three months lost it's appeal.

    edit: Ow yeah, and my mom offered to buy a brand new 25-35k car for me if I got a full ride to college. This was only offered in the latter part of my senior year. With the way I fucked around in high school I would have never been able to coax multiple scholarships out of different places with the grades I had. Had it been freshman year and I was into cars I probably would have busted my fucking ass.


    Also, for Nettdatas point, it is a much better alternative than doing your work just so you don't get punished.
     
  17. Frank

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    I know where you're going with this, but the whole reason parents and teachers preach achieving in school is the notion you will eventually be rewarded down the road, I don't know about you, but my parents and teachers always told me to work hard so I had a better pick of careers later in life. Giving short term rewards along the way would help students understand the benefits of hard work in a very tangible way.

    And I would hope that kids are learning to do the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing outside of school.
     
  18. Frank

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    Just to be clear, I don't think that students should strive in school JUST for money. I just think that kids should learn early on that how hard you work now will have an affect on the choices you are able to make. If they are given cash short term they'll have a better understanding of the correlation between work and reward.
     
  19. bewildered

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    I think handing cash out is different than simply rewarding your children when they do a good job. If your kid makes straight As, or if they were really really struggling with a subject and managed to make a great grade in the end, you can reward them without handing them 10 bucks. Cash is cold. Taking your child out for ice cream or the movies or fishing (whatever would appeal to that particular child) are good ways to spend time with your kid and reward them for a job well done.

    This being said, I was not rewarded in any way, shape or form for good grades. Good grades were expected. My parents paid a shitton of money for all 6 of us to go to private school from k-12 grade, and rewarding us for getting grades that we should be getting anyway was not their style. Average grades earned a lecture, and bad grades earned an ass-chewing.

    I'll be honest, my childhood was not too fun and I don't have a lot of great memories. One of my favorite memories? When my dad took me and my brother to Dairy Queen for ice cream after we helped him cut the ~8 acres of property that my family owns in the country, north of here. He realized that rewarding us for hot, hard, seemingly pointless work was important, and he was grateful for our help.
     
  20. MoreCowbell

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    I was rewarded as a kid. Later graduated from a very good university and have a good job, so I suppose I turned out ok. I wouldn't suggest that this is a causal connection, though.

    The money had no effect on me beyond the age of 13 or 14. The problem was that either the stakes are too small, or, if they're large enough....I don't want them.

    I have an intense discomfort with getting things that I don't think I deserve. To the point that I actively dislike my birthday and don't tell anyone about it, because being given gifts makes me feel awkward (what did I do to deserve this? Survive another year? My mother is the one who popped me out, go give her a gift). Thus, the fact that I was being rewarded for something that 1) I would have done anyways, and 2) I should be doing anyways seems wasteful and unwarranted.

    It may be relevant, though, that I am a nerd, and have always had enough money to be comfortable (personal money, not family. I've been working part time jobs since I was 14. Sometimes more than one). If I were less bookish and in need of cash, like the children from the article, it might have been a very different story.


    You know what was awesome, though? Those reading coupons from Pizza Hut. Free personal pizza...LIKE A BOSS.
     
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