Will learn for iPods

Introducing another bad idea in contemporary K-12 education. The New York Times reports that many schools, plagued by truancy (and attendant problems both with test scores and state funding formulae), now bribe kids to come to class. At Chelsea High School, located in an impoverished community outside Boston, students earn $25 for each quarter of perfect attendance. But that's chump change. Krystal Brooks won a canary yellow Ford Mustang from her school, and Fernando Vasquez pocketed $10,000 from his. Because so few education ideas yield results, Brookings Institution senior fellow Tom Loveless said, "If something works, the ideological burden not to do it has to be huge." Loveless's point is well-taken: why not provide students with incentives that mean something to them in the present tense? But, cars?

"And for Perfect Attendance, Johnny Gets... a Car," by Pam Belluck, New York Times, February 5, 2006 (free registration required)

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