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Your Take: Pay for Academic Performance for Children

When I was younger (starting around 2nd grade), my mom said that for every 100% I got on a weekly spelling test, I’d get a dollar as my reward. The spelling tests started all the way back in the first grade but really got going in second and third grades, but I’d routinely get a hundred in part because I was brilliant and in part because they told us the set of words ahead of time (my mom knew this). There would be maybe fifty words and then ten or twenty would appear on the test, it was a cinch to get a hundred and anyone who didn’t simply didn’t try or didn’t care. Anyway, as I grew older, the 100s were harder and the prize was made larger until I was in high school when it would be $10 per 100. By high school, though, I didn’t get 100s unless it was something trivial like a health test or something meaningless, so I never went to collect. Anyway, I ended up being a decent student, in part because of the incentive my mom provided, but this is a issue that’s a hot button topic for many parents. Should they “bribe” (or “reward,” as the proponents would say) their children for performance?

My opinion is that you can and should bribe or reward them for performance because that’s how the world works. You get a good SAT score, you are rewarded with admittance into a good college or university. If you get good grades in college, you’re rewarded with a good job. If you perform well at your job, you’re rewarded with more money (maybe!). Giving children incentives for strong academic performance isn’t going to ruin them for the world because the world rewards strong performance with money as well.

What prompted this Your Take post was an article from the New York Times [3] where students were being paid to perform well academically.

What’s your take on this?