DC Schools Give Kids Money to Improve Grades

Schools pay students for good behavior, grades
By Michael Roston,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2008 6:45 PM CDT
Davon Holmes, second from right, raises his hand to answer a question during his Spanish class at the KIPP DC KEY Academy in Washington, Friday, May 30, 2008. Students at KIPP are rewarded on Fridays...   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Schools in Washington, DC, hope to expand children's minds by filling their wallets. Students who get good grades, attend class, and behave earn points that will net them paychecks of up to $1,500 each year, NPR reports. "Every child has a switch, and it's our job as educators to find it," said one principal of the "Capital Gains" program, the brainchild of a Harvard economist.

A critic called the program racist and said it communicates to the black community, "You can't institute the right values in your kids, so basically we're just going to pay you off." But parents, who can opt out of the payments, are willing to try.  "If that's what they think is going to work, I guess they have to try different things," one skeptical parent said. The economist who designed the program said it's too early to predict success. "Let's just let the data speak."