Here's one thing you might consider adding to the back-to-school shopping list: cold, hard cash. Yes, for your massage appointments after waiting in the pick-up line, and driving to after school-soccer and back across town. But also for those kids who need an extra push to bring home the grades. So, you think this sounds crazy? It kind of is. But it's also kind of genius.
Before you bring out the pitchforks and torches (and remind us all about the bad economy we're in right now), let's take a minute to consider paying kids for grades.
For most kids, paying for good grades is ridiculous and setting them up for a lifetime of disappointment when they don't get a cash reward just for doing what they should be doing anyway. Good grades directly benefit your child; the cash reward is a double bonus that they really don't deserve. One could also argue that paying for grades is only for bad parents who don't want to be involved in their child's education or make any effort other than writing a check. All of these arguments would be correct and solid reasons against paying kids for grades with one big exception: when nothing else works.
A large-scale initiative in urban areas, and failing schools, did show some promise when kids started getting paid for getting good grades. In fact, at one school, the students' improvement was equivalent to them spending three extra months in school. That's a serious jump that benefits everyone in our society. If this is what it takes to help kids who don't have very many (if any) advantages to succeed academically, it's worth it. Children who excel in school have a much better shot at excelling in life -- and getting out of a cycle of poverty and all those negatives that go with it, as well.
So while most of us should keep our wallets to ourselves, paying kids for grades is not always a bad idea. In fact, sometimes it can be the answer.
What do you think about paying kids for good grades?
Image via JMRosenfeld/Flickr