2007 September 06 Thursday
Pay Kids For School Performance?

Our rulers are desperate to turn all kids into Lake Woebegone children who are all above average.

New York City is about to start paying some of its students for good grades: A perfect score on a state exam will pay fourth-graders $25. Exemplary attendance will also bring a reward.

There's an obvious glaring problem with this approach: A reward for a top score is no incentive to the vast bulk of the students because few are smart enough to achieve perfect scores no matter how hard they study. Financial incentives for study should be based on the intelligence level of each kid. A smart kid should have a much higher bar of knowledge to achieve to earn a reward than a dumber student. But our liberal elites have decided we can't think of people as innately different in ability. IQ is taboo even as the liberals are fascinated by the topic. Now that discussions of sexual desires and behavior are out in the open IQ has replaced sex as the unmentionable topic that everyone thinks about.

How to reward kids that already get everything?

I started to take in a big gulp of air. Would every goal attained by my two children fetch a reward? A high GPA? A good class ranking? Would sports achievements be included in this reward system: soccer goals, touchdowns, runs-batted-in? What about orchestra? Would first chair pay more than second? I'd be broke by eighth-grade graduation.

Then I thought of the family down the block with the five kids, their basement overflowing with multiple sets of Polly Pockets and American Girl Dolls, their yard littered with trampolines and electric scooters.

Parents who want to reward for performance are going to have to give their kids fewer gifts in order to leave more things available to be earned.

We are probably less than 10 years from discovering the genes that govern intelligence. Once that happens will it become technically possible to select among embryos to choose ones which will produce smarter children. At that point I expect most of the energy directed at trying to improve school student performance will be redirected toward promoting eugenics.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 September 06 11:03 PM  Education

tommy said at September 6, 2007 11:49 PM:

Exactly. This will only work for students who are likely to get perfect scores anyway. It might even discourage average and below average students who will study hard (perhaps hoping to buy the latest video game with the cash) and not even get close. They should return to practice of splitting students up into A (above average), B (average), and C (below average) sections in various subjects and provide rewards for those at the top of their game in each.

Big Bill said at September 7, 2007 5:21 AM:

It will work for many of the top students who are bored to tears having to go to school with a bunch of ninnies. Rather than "tune out" as so many do, they can tune in to the carrot in front of their eyes.

We expect a lot of our smart kids. We expect them to be self-motivating, self-educating, and self-entertaining because the teachers ignore them -- deliberately. This evens things out a bit.

Why on earth would any teacher struggling to get black and Mexican students up to white levels for the No Child Left Behind standards, spend any time pushing smart white students to be even better,when it just makes her job harder. Of course they don't.

A desire to teach is one thing, but it will never trump job security. Most teachers given the choice will spend their time "teaching to equalize" and ignore the smart kids.

Expertoneverything said at February 4, 2008 7:18 PM:

It's amazing it doesn't make the average American's hair stand on end when a politician calls themselves a "ruler."


Mark said at August 20, 2010 11:51 PM:

Razor scooter is the best gift you can gift your kid because they have loads of fun with it and start learning things like balancing and many more.I bought razor for my kid last year and now planning to buy new upgraded one.I guess this is best and cheapest.

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