A Cincinnati high school started an experimental incentive program this month, paying their students to come to school. Dohn Community High School, a charter school partnered with Easter Seals, will begin paying students for attendance, getting to class on time and good behavior. Meeting those requirements can earn students up to $25 a week. At Dohn, $25 a week can make a big difference, as 97% of their students are living in poverty.
Critics claim that this is a false-motivator for the students and the pay may foster a sense of entitlement, hurting them in the long-term. But, parents in support of the program explain that administration at Dohn has tried several other incentive programs that didn’t seem to work, including pizza parties and earning Friday’s off school.
Dohn had been designated an “Academic Emergency” by the Ohio Department of Education. Graduating only 14% of their seniors last year, they are desperate to improve their standings. Dohn teachers say, “Anything we can do to get the kids into the classrooms helps, we can’t teach them if they’re not there.”
- What are the pros and cons of the incentive program? What predictions do you have for its long-term effects?
- What incentive do you think are best/most appropriate for schools to use?
- How can failing schools improve? Who is to blame for failing schools; the teachers, the students, administration?