Michael posted an article on his Facebook the other day, and just reading the title, “Cincinnati high school paying students to come to school,” I felt a rant coming on. How dare the school throw more taxpayer money at kids!! They should go to school for the love of it!!
But then I caught myself. And I had to think really long and hard about it. Why? Because I know for sure that when I was in grade school (up through 8th grade), our school was involved in a program with the Chicago White Sox. If you had perfect attendance (no absences at all, not even excused), you got a pair of tickets to a Sox game. By the time I reached high school, the Sox had ended the program because they were giving out too many free tickets.
At that time, tickets were around $7.50 each (I’m basing this on a webpage I found that detailed Yankees prices over the years. I’m guessing that in 1980, the prices for a Yank’s ticket and a Sox ticket were similar*). So, if you had perfect attendance, you were “paid” $15.00 – the price of a pair of Sox tickets.
This school is proposing a similar program, although it’s a little more blatant: a $25 gift card (Visa) for Seniors, $10 for underclassmen, plus $5 in a savings account, at the end of the year if attendance is perfect, they are on time for classes, and the student doesn’t get into any trouble.
So on that level, I really don’t have a problem with it.
Where I have the problem is with the fact that the school had a 14% Graduation Rate last year. To me, that is a problem that calls for a better solution than a gift card. What solution? Perhaps incentives for parents to get their butts involved. Maybe the parents of students who aren’t succeeding are compelled by law to go to school themselves. I don’t know. Perhaps they need to look at the teaching staff – one commenter suggested that maybe the teachers were “boring”, and they should use the $40K for this program to beef up the teaching staff. Maybe they should be doing that, along with the gift card incentive program.
I really don’t have the answers, which is why I’m just writing a critical blog post, instead of running a school.
But on the whole, I really don’t have a problem with a “perfect attendance” incentive. How about you?