Work hard, take it easy

Who doesn't count down the days to the end of school? For high school students in Mesquite, Texas, that day may be sooner than they think--provided they pass all their classes and the state tests. District leaders are proposing a deal for students: pass your classes and TAKS and you can get out of school a week early. They see it as a way to kill two birds with one stone: incentivize working harder, while making it possible to give students who are struggling more one-on-one tutoring time (during the last week of the year, at least). "It just seems like a great opportunity to work with a smaller number of students who may have some more intensive needs," muses district administrator Jeannie Stone. Sure, we should be careful about taking kids out of classrooms when they spend so few days in them as it is, but just as incentives work for adults, they work for teenagers, too. Further, unlike other green-tinged carrots, this one retains its orange hue, eschewing the realm of bribes in favor of that of rewards. It seems like there's little to be lost by giving this approach a try.

"Mesquite schools' proposal would let students score days off for passing TAKS, classes," by Karel Holloway, Dallas Morning News, May 11, 2009

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