February 20th, 2012
04:20 PM ET

Should students be paid to go to class?

CNN's education contributor Steve Perry on whether a 'cash for class' program at one school is a good idea for students.

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Filed under: Perry's Principles • video • Voices
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  1. Jennifer Gajus

    I'm glad that Mr. Perry has a strong opinion about this issue of paying students $10.00 a week for daily, on time attendance and no behavior problems. It would be nice if he had more than a superficial knowledge of Dohn. I teach Language Arts at Dohn and I believe not only in this school but also in this program. I am offended by Mr. Perry's characterization of this program as a gimmick and by his suggestion that we have failed and therefore should close our doors.

    What Mr. Perry didn't discuss, and may not be aware of, is the challenge of teaching at a school like ours. Dohn Community High School is not your ordinary urban charter school. We are a drop out recovery school. Students come to us because they have failed one or more classes and want to get back on track so that they can return to their home school. Students also come to us because they have been expelled from one or more schools for fighting or selling drugs or truancy. We are many of our students' last chance for an education. We have a 99% black student population. 98% of our students receive a free or reduced lunch. There is very little parent support and very few of our students come from families that value education. Engaging our students, even our more capable ones, is a challenge.

    Up until this year Dohn was a computer based school. This year we are using common core textbooks and working to provide a rigorous education. In fact, one major complaint I hear is that my class is "too much like a real school". Dohn, like any other school in this nation, does have room for improvement. We are going through a profound transition and this program is intended to be a tool to help students to meet transportation needs as well as other financial obligations.
    Some of our students miss school because they lack bus fare. They often come to us with no transcripts because they can't pay their fees.

    It is an insulting oversimplification to say that we are simply paying students to come to school. Students must be on time for every class, every day. They must be productive. They must not get in trouble. Since this program began I have more students in their seats ready to work when the bell rings. I can honestly say that is a first. Maybe the incentive for being on time isn't a total gimmick after all.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  2. Brian Southers

    These students are graduating from either high school or from college within their hometowns. Outsourcing in industry and with students has become a common thread, which deals with the way that some benefit but others do not. The employee who loses her job does not benefit, but the employee overseas does. Likewise, the town or city that paid public taxes for the students’ high school education does not benefit, but the city that employs the graduate does. The private high school sector is also effected, but more directly, because it is their community that misses out.
    Check out more at http://rethinkingmethod.com/2012/02/19/why-are-we-outsourcing-our-students/

    February 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm |