Paying students to attend school?

What are we coming to?

An article on the CNN website today tells of a new program that pays parents to attend parent-teacher conferences and pays students to attend school and take tests.  Says the brainiac who thought up this idea,

“Our parents are disconnected. They’re disconnected from a system that doesn’t respect them,” says Wiley. “They’re disconnected from a system they don’t have a positive relationship with, so we’ve got to reconnect our parents.”

Respect? Excuse me, but as a teacher I had nothing but respect for the parents of my students.  In my eyes, I worked for them because they were tax payers.  I worked myself way past a 40 hour work week making sure their kids had their papers graded, essays read, lesson plans created, etc.  I spent thousands of my own dollars supplementing the supplies in my classroom.  I bought pencils and other materials, even backpacks, for those kids whose parents sent them to school without them.  I checked their heads for lice every week.  I gave money to kids whose parents forgot to send them lunch money (or couldn’t afford it that day).  I taught them to read, to write, to add, to do mathematics, to spell, to dream, and to think.  How is that showing no respect???

Many parents, however, especially those who failed to show up at conferences, ignored my pleadings for tutoring help, and failed to make sure their kids did their homework — these parents did not respect me, did not respect education, and did not respect their children.

Somewhere along the way, the concept of RESPECT has become synonymous with Show Me The Money…Give Me The Hand Out Because I Deserve It.  Where is the work ethic in this country?  What happened to students applying themselves to their education for the intrinsic value of the education itself?

As a teacher, I rewarded students with silly stickers on their papers for good work or stamps on their hands for above-and-beyond great behavior.

But this…I am so dumbfounded and flabbergasted that for once, I’m speechless.

More on this to come…

(and I am soooo grateful to be homeschooling my child in these very wacky, mixed up days)

11 thoughts on “Paying students to attend school?

  1. I agree and find it incredibly funny that Paulette Wiley is complaining about education when she doesn’t even speak correct English.

    “Ten dollars isn’t dignified, $30, that’s too much,” says Wiley. “But $25, that sounded real good. Real good.”

    Real good? It should obviously be really good. She even repeated herself to make it more important. I cannot take her seriously and cannot believe school superintendents are taking her seriously. A woman talking about improving education should speak proper English. Maybe, the problem with the children is that their parents do use the language correctly.

  2. Amen. As a teacher for 14 years, I ask myself where is accountability and responsibility? Where are the role models in parenting? Have these people lost their minds – paying for PTA attendance? What next?
    It is a vicious cycle – the dysfunctional raise the dysfunctional and project the blame somewhere else.
    The schools take on more and more of the parenting roles because the dysfunctional parents can’t handle it.
    There are truely wacky, mixed up people to put it mildly –

  3. I’m glad you care so much for your students. People assume that all teachers are great and do not realize that very few are. I went all through grade school and middle school with about 2 or 3 teachers that actually gave myself or my parents a tiny bit of respect. All the rest just sort of blew me off because I was in a “wealthy” school district and was not one of the “rich” kids.

    Thank you for actually caring about your students.

  4. The problem you describe is the unintended consequence of liberalism, the pervasive theology of the left wing. My experience is that if you demonstrate the minimum requirements to a group and then hold parties responsible if and when they fail, then failure will diminish. Not so with liberals. The liberals (and their co-dependents the Teachers Union) will simply say that little Johnny (or Jamal) is not “as gifted” and therefore cannot be held responsible for his actions. The government is then called upon to provide assistance. When will this stop? It is killing our country.

  5. As a single parent of four (now adult) daughters and six granddaughters and counting, I personally think this is a great approach. Think of it this way. Your job as an adult is to go to work for MONEY! A child’s job as a student is to learn to work which will eventually be for MONEY! The education that they are receiving is to prepare them for the world of making MONEY! So, what better place to start than with the school system or at least in the classroom with home work and tests. We all know how overburdened and underpaid our teachers are. We also know that we have those in the school system who could care less if a child learns or not. Coming from this angle, our children will have a vested interest in the process and therefore can see their labors coming to fruition a whole lot sooner. I applaud those teachers who do care about our students, but there are many students who do not have incentive enough to make it through and they also have parents who don’t have the skills themselves to be of adequate assistance. Helping parents to actually see that their contributions, even if only financial, can make a difference will possibly enable more parents to get involved in the process. You can start to see some growing in the parents as well as in the students. Who knows, you may be even prompt some of the less educated parents to actually start learning for themselves.

  6. I think what the lady who thought up this program is saying about respect, is that the SYSTEM does not have respect for education. I don’t think she meant that as a personal affront to any of the teachers. The SYSTEM is the reason why you, as a valuable asset for the teaching process, has to go out and spend thousands of your hard earned dollars to supplement the classrooms. Coming from where I come from there are many parents who do not participate in the educational process because they see no results and they just give up. Lame? Yes, but it does happen. A more likely reason is because they themselves can no longer help their children with the homework because they no longer understand. The things we/they learned are no longer applicable to today’s process and instead of looking like an idiot in front of their children, they save face by not attending meetings. As stated before, do not take this as an affront to you personally. You can draw a lot more flies with honey than you can with vinegar, so look at it that way. Your objective is to get the parents more involved which will in turn have a more positive on the students. If this is but one way to do so, why not at least attempt the process before arbitrarily abandoning the idea. True, this may not work for everybody and who knows it might even back fire in some way. But, who is to know if it’s not at least tried and tested?

  7. As a student, who is pursuing his masters degree in education this makes me disgusted. Really? Pay parents to get interested in their children? They’re disconnected because they don’t care. It has nothing to do with respect. If you’ve got to take a handout to pay more attention to your kids, what kind of respect do you have. I have plenty of friends and colleagues who have worked their butts off in order to ensure their underprivileged students are taken care of outside of the classroom so to read this article and to not feel contempt is asking a lot!Especially for those who have worked hard for themselves to better who they want to become, without taking handouts from the world!

  8. MsDei –
    As a society, we are already being “paid” for our public schools! Free education is NOT something that every country has. We are so fortunate in the USA to have a “system” that provides free education to our kids. However, that education isn’t really free. It’s paid for by everyone who pays taxes. Giving parents money on top of all the other free services is nuts! In my district, they already had free parenting classes. In my school, 98% of my students had free breakfast and lunch. Their school supplies were bought for them. They did not have to pay for textbooks.

    The SYSTEM is broken precisely because we stopped holding parents accountable. If we give them $25, what’s next? $50? $100? When will it end?

    I am all for thinking outside the box within the limits of reason. Even a full-grown adult can learn personal responsibility. Our nation will be much stronger when our people start becoming more self reliant, not more dependent.

  9. So much to say….where do I start?!?!

    First, Paul—commenter #6—you said a mouthful. I couldn’t agree more.

    I think that welfare (in all its various forms) has in many ways created such an incredible sense of entitlement that many people ONLY think in terms of what is in it for them. Even their parenting instinct has been blunted by not seeing a ‘payoff’ in just engaging their child. It is a TRAGEDY that is largely being ignored in this country.

    My heart bleeds for the children of these parents. Sadly, their parents are probably this way due to the fact that THEIR parents were the same….and shortly the cycle will begin yet again with the child as well. Throwing money into the mix will NOT help, it will hurt. Oh, it may cause them to show up, but beyond that? I doubt the motivation to become involved in the education of their child will magically appear. All this will do is reinforce a mentality of doing something only if there is a tangible payoff, not because its just the right thing to do.

    Seriously, what kind of society are we creating here?!?! I could go on and on….

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