Would you work a little harder on a task at the office if your boss offered to give you a bonus upon completing it? Many would answer that question with a resounding, "Yes." What if that same situation was applied to schools with teachers and their students? Kids earn extra credit points a number of ways but one North Carolina school came under fire for offering its pupils 20 test points (10 points to be used on two tests of their choosing) if they brought in a $20 donation to the school.
Like many schools across the country, Rosewood Middle School is facing tough economic times and was looking for innovative ideas in fund-raising. After the parent advisory board came up with the concept and then the principal endorsed it, it looked like the fund-raiser was a go, but it never actually took off. The state education officials got wind of the practice and stopped it before it was ever set in motion. They believe it is teaching children the wrong lesson — that grades can be bought. Instead of cash, they insist the students should be rewarded bonus points for knowledge gained, not green paper. In defense of the program, Principal Susie Shepherd made the point that two test bumps won't make a difference in a student's final grade but that the money would have been helpful in upgrading the computer lab and their classrooms.
Do you agree with the state education officials or do you think the fund-raiser was a legitimate way to get kids involved in the school's improvement efforts?