NYC Schools and Learning Rewards

by NYC Firm Schools on March 11, 2009

Writing Exams
Creative Commons License photo credit: ccarlstead

Education is obviously the most important factor in a New York Private School. After all, that is why so many families have sacrificed so much to enable their child to attend the school. In a place where academics and learning is both the challenge and the reward, a focus on benefits is emerging.
The New York Times reported on reward systems in NYC schools:

In New York City and Dallas, high school students are paid for doing well on Advanced Placement tests. In New York, the payouts come from an education reform group called Rewarding Achievement (Reach for short), financed by the Pershing Square Foundation, a charity founded by the hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. The Dallas program is run by Advanced Placement Strategies, a Texas nonprofit group whose chairman is the philanthropist Peter O’Donnell.
Another experiment was started last fall in 14 public schools in Washington that are distributing checks for good grades, attendance and behavior.

The idea of offering a reward or prize for good grades is a family tradition for some, while being a taboo idea in other families. Rewards for academic achievement can be anything from a class pizza party, to a personal check to an iPod, depending on the school and its philosophies, but the long term affects of a reward system are debated.

Dr. Deci asks educators to consider the effect of monetary rewards on students with learning disabilities. When they go home with a smaller payout while seeing other students receive checks for $500, Dr. Deci said, they may feel unfairly punished and even less excited to go to school.

Very few NYC School systems have such reward systems in place, as many feel that a system like that undermines the lifelong advancement of learning. It will be interesting to see where such programs, their benefits and their consequences, eventually lead.

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