Your Turn: Paid for Grades


A new program, funded by private donors, will PAY students to do well in school. Students from 20 public high schools in Chicago will earn $1,600-$4,000 for passing their classes and graduating. Students get half the money — $50 for an A and $20 for a C — up front, and the other half upon graduation.

As national graduation rates hover between 50 and 77 percent, a Harvard professor found that students often drop out because school doesn’t promise an immediate reward like getting a job does.

Critics call the program bribery and say that educators should find other ways to motivate students. What do you think of the program? Is it a good idea to pay students to do well in school? Take the poll.


"If you make A's to get money that is a bribe. You should work hard all the time to get a better education and work for the grades you deserve without money involved."

--Amanda (17), Texas


"Getting money in accord to receiving good the illusion that education is only good for making money and that there is no core value to a good education. I truly believe that once you have an education you can never be poor, because that is one thing you can never have taken away from you. It's your right. Giving students money for good grades is taking the importance out of learning, and is bribing them to care.

It is not a definite that the students will be retaining the information. They may just learn the facts for the time being, then discard them once they get the grade, and the money."

--Anne (15), Ind.


"I'm not interested in my classes. I have been tempted to drop out of school myself so I could get a job and a real purpose. If I was offered cash for A's I would stay in school. It's not bribing if something in the person wants to do it."

--Maya(16), Texas


"If you give us something to look forward to we'll stay interested. The money is a great motivator. It will get more students in a classroom and less students will be on the streets trying to make a quick dollar. This way we earn our money the RIGHT way and not the WRONG, ILLEGAL way."

--Aaliyah (14), Texas


"If I got money for working hard I would do better so I could save up for college and have a really good job."

--Samantha (12), Ga.


"If students were getting paided to go to school, they would stay in school. Most people drop out just because they have to get a job in order to survive."

--Ashley (17), Fla.

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