Financial Incentives for Educational Success: Novel Concept!

According to the Albuquerque Journal:

West Mesa High School students could be pocketing $100 for each Advanced Placement exam they pass in math, English and science next spring.

And AP teachers won’t be left out either, collecting $100 in bonuses for each of their students’ passed tests.

This is one innovative, market-based reform that is straight out of the Florida playbook that Dr. Matthew Ladner outlined recently in New Mexico. While it is by no means a silver bullet, it is a step in the right direction towards more incentives for both students and teachers to perform well.

And yes, students should learn for the sake of learning, but sometimes those incentives are more powerful when an additional financial carrot is provided. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold at West Mesa.

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3 Replies to “Financial Incentives for Educational Success: Novel Concept!”

  1. The threat to quality education is its commodification. Is not the learning well enough to pass an advanced placement sufficient reward? Are students supposed to be in AP classes for the cash reward if they pass the AP exam? Such incentives cheapen education. More, they cheapen any endeavor worth doing and doing well.

  2. Paul, I believe education starts in the home. Perhaps we need some incentives to help parents understand that they carry some considerable responsibility in the education of their children.
    Permit me to draw you a picture of my past. I was born in 1935 and grew up in Michigan on a farm. Our family was very poor, but then almost all those around us were, also, so it didn’t seem to matter. My father had seven siblings – some served in WW2. My father graduated from high school in ’28, worked for a year as a mechanic to save money to attend a local business college to be an accountant. He reported for school the day after Labor Day in ’29. A few weeks later the bottom dropped out of the financial world, but he grubbed his way to graduation in 1934, only to be unable to find accounting work. He joined his father on the farm, finally buying a farm nearby. He was one of only two people in his county with an education beyond HS. He worked hard, and managed himself AND his money well. There was no doubt that I and my siblings were going to college – he saw to that. Several of his siblings were clearly not as driven, worked in the auto industry where someone else managed their work schedule. When industry switched to consumer goods after the war, money flowed plentifully. They ate, drank, and were merry, and begat the baby boomers, who likewise did not learn to manage themselves – the first symptoms were the riots in the sixties. My uncles were good people, but they made bad decisions, mostly they overindulged their children, as many others did. These children’s philisophy was exemplified by Flip Wilson, the black comedian, who coined the phrase “the devil made me do it!” That is, I am not responsible for my own behavior.
    We are reaping the rewards today. Parents seem unable to take responsibility and properly raise their children.
    So, where do we apply incentives that will be most effective in the long run? Or, have we just totally lost the battle? I hope not….
    Those of you in the baby boomer crowd (collectively)seem unable to recognize these facts – you are too close to it. As they say, physicians seem unable to heal themselves.
    Those facts escaped Tom Brokaw between his books “The Greatest Generation” and “Boom”. I talked with him about that, and he somewhat redeemed himself in his recent CNBC program “Boomers”.

  3. I agree with both Michael and Aldred. What I see as a better source for incentive leading to the common good would be from the private, productive sector, not the bloated bureaucracy of the public school system itself. I’d also like to say to Aldred that I am one “Boomer” who has not had a choice whether to overindulge my children or not. They are all three productive, responsible working adults now.

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