September 12, 2008
Schools have started again and one of the dumbest ideas I’ve heard – and there are many from which to choose – is the proposal to pay children for good grades.
The reasoning, if you can call it that, is that corporations pay bonuses to employees for good performance, so why not students?
No one paid me to study, or to want to succeed. I don’t ever recall getting a bonus from my parents on those occasions when I got good grades. Virtue was its own reward. Finding favor with my parents and teachers was motivation enough.
Instead of accepting failure in too many schools, why aren’t we studying what made my schools work and people like me succeed – as the world defines such things.
Paying kids to study and get good grades is an affront to learning. It insults all of those who came before and puts money before knowledge and profit before principle. School choice would do more to improve learning and motivation than paying kids – much more.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.