Paying for Grades a Bad Idea

If schools took donations for grades, various programs that require extra funds might thrive, but students’ motivation and quality of education would drastically decline.

Leesville is a school full of academically-minded students who can be seen staying after school to improve for their grades. Whether staying after with a teacher for additional help, doing extra credit on the weekends, or studying in the library after school, students do everything possible to make their “B” become an “A” or a failing grade become a passing grade. A major priority of students is to please their parents or get into a prestigious college.

When the school chocolate-selling fundraiser at Rosewood Middle School in Wayne County did not work last year, the principal decided to sell something else: their students’ desire to improve their grades.  The school decided to reward the kids’ participation in the fundraiser by offering twenty points on the tests of their choosing for every twenty dollars raised for the school.  When Wayne County school administrators caught wind of this arrangement, they shut it down immediately, saying that payment cannot be made for grades.

Susie Shepherd, the principle of Rosewood Middle School in the midst of this controversy announced her retirement this week.  The new principal, Mary Kay James, will take over the position on December 1.

Paying for grades sends the message to kids that they an slack off the whole semester then pay the school to fix it in the end.  It teaches them that not only will money fix all of their problems, but that education is unimportant as long as you get an acceptable grade.  This program will fill our state colleges with undereducated yet well-off students in ten years, and ultimately hurt every child involved.

The proposition of money becoming a requirement for improved grades has appeared all over the country.  Parents reward their kids with $100 for a straight A report card.  Nine thousand fourth and seventh graders in sixty schools around New York City are eligible to win as much as $500 for improving their scores on English and math tests throughout the year.

Bob Schaeffer of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing strongly disagrees with the notion of paying kids for their grades.  According to The News & Observer, Schaeffer says, “Bribing kids for higher test scores – or paying teachers bounties for their students’ work – is similar to giving them steroids: Short-term performance might improve but the long-term effects can be very damaging.”

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