Bribing Teens for Good Grades Is Newest Trend

Jacqueline Burt Cote

honda fitI don't know about you, but I probably would've cared a lot more about my grades in high school if I knew every "A" brought me one step closer to a brand new car. Hey, it worked for the Las Vegas teen Kenneth Gonzalez, who was just awarded a Honda Fit by his high school for maintaining a GPA above 3.7 and keeping his attendance record spotless (no unexcused absences). Sweet!

Before your imagination runs wild and you start imagining a crazy, casino-esque high school with slot machines instead of lockers, the Clark County school isn't some super-glitzy institution that hands out new sets of wheels with every diploma. Not all graduating seniors with good grades and perfect attendance get a car, but they are made eligible for a raffle awarding a car as the grand prize and scholarships of $8,000 as lesser prizes.

I know this idea will probably strike a fair amount of people as just one more example of how we're raising greedy kids and emphasizing the wrong things (material rewards over a sense of accomplishment, for example). But let's take a practical look at this don't-screw-up-and-maybe-you'll-win-a-car approach: Teens (human beings of all ages, really) work harder when they're working towards something tangible. Seeing as how they're teenagers and have no idea what floundering through adulthood with no solid career options is like, I think the use of abstract notions like "success" as motivation is lost on teens. A car, on the other hand, or a big fat check, are easy images to bring to mind as incentive when you just don't feel like studying anymore.

Do you think bribing teens for good grades is a good idea?

Image via skarocket7/Flickr

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