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Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

School attendance: Worth the effort?

Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at 2:22 PM

In the sense of what an good education can do for students now and in the future, of course going to school is worth the effort.

But Unicoi County High, in Erwin (upper east Tennessee), is paying a $300 prize each month to a student, presumably picked at random, for showing up for class on time.

I'm for being good to students, but paying them for being punctual is a little ridiculous.

They'll learn quickly enough that in the adult world, if you don't come to work on time, you'll probably lose your job.

Rewards to students should maybe be performance-based, on effort if not on actual grades.

When I was in high school Stewart-Potts Ford (remember them?) gave the senior with the best grades over a six-weeks grading period the use of a new Mustang for the following six weeks. I guess insurance rates and fear of lawsuits would prevent that today, but it was a good idea at the time.

If we're talking relatively large sums of money, something like use of a car makes more sense than Unicoi County's idea.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Part of what is wrong with our country today, is that we're teaching our children that everybody's a winner (in sports, for instance) and that you deserve a ribbon or an award for doing what's expected of you. It's completely ridiculous and I believe that it sets them up for failure and disappointment as adults. I also think it instills the sense of entitlement, which seems to be so common, these days.

I refuse to buy into that mentality. I have a child who's currently on the honor roll at school and a member of the National Honor Society. She didn't achieve this by being bribed. She did it because we refused to accept less than what she was capable of. She's well adjusted and I have absolutely no doubt that she's going to be able to function as a hard-working adult.

-- Posted by Nobody'sFool on Tue, Feb 3, 2009, at 5:08 PM

I'd also be interested in hearing who's funding this "prize".

-- Posted by Nobody'sFool on Tue, Feb 3, 2009, at 5:09 PM

One last thing- I think that awarding someone for being the BEST at what they do (highest GPA, etc) is far different than awarding them for simply bothering to show up.

Rather than rewarding them for taking up space in the classroom, how about punishing the ones who don't? There's nothing wrong with a little old-school technique, every once in a while.

-- Posted by Nobody'sFool on Tue, Feb 3, 2009, at 5:11 PM

I absolutely agree Nobody'sFool!!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 6:46 AM

I do not have a problem with it at all. Simply showing up does meet the first requirement of being educated. The comparison that I make to adult life is that those who excel, or at least attempt to do what is required are generally rewarded. To discount that reality and only focus on the negative consequences of adult life seems sort of hollow, and not an accurate representation of what to expect. Sure, if I have a co-worker who never shows up or completely lacks the ability or desire to perform their job, they will not last long, but by the same token, if a co-worker does only just enough to get by and I do much more than expected, should we expect the same pay/promotions?

Why do any of us get up and motivated every day if not for both the hopes of rewards and the fear of consequences.

I further imagine that the system in question has a NCLB issue with attendance and dropout rates at the very least. If that is the case, $3000.00 a year is a very small price to pay for the system to achieve compliance, if it works. I wonder what our system will spend in comparison based on the same grasping speculation.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 9:34 AM

They "WON'T", they'll just seperate the haves from the haves not and put them all in two different schools, and then the cans from the can-nots and then put them into different schools, and then they'll tell all parents including the haves, and cans childrens parents that from now on they have to come to school with there children to make sure they are their, and the children are learning what they are suppose too as well as wearing what they are suppose too, and behaving like they are suppose too, and looking all "The Same" like they are suppose too, and all the parents of children in school will have to take a night time job for work. Then they will be saving mega bucks because the parents can do all the teaching while they lay Off the real teachers.

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 12:42 PM

Wish someone would pay me $300 for going to my college classes. That would be a nice incentive. :)

-- Posted by schs_senior on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 3:34 PM

Sounds good to me. Too many parents don't instill a good work ethic in their children. The first place that is learned is at school. Do you stay home from work because you 'don't feel good'? (Obviously you don't go if you are running a fever. You are contagious and will end up making everyone else sick.) I have so many kids miss days for reasons that just don't cut it. Before you rake me through the coals about funding, I get $5 per student to buy supplies to teach science class. That's less than .14 cents a week. It doesn't last long and then I end up spending my own money or asking parents to help.

You can't learn if you aren't at school. Grades, knowledge and skills are the paycheck. A drawing for $300 is a bonus and it only goes to one kid! Big deal if it creates an incentive to get kids to school. I can tell you though, if a kid doesn't want to go to school and mom and dad don't make him, it could be $3,000 and it wouldn't make any difference.

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 7:14 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.