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Should we provide wages to students to attend high school?

In order to improve graduation rates, improve discipline in the class room, provide enjoyment, and the best bang for the buck from a small stimulus package suppose we pay high school students a “wage” for attending class. The catch is, though, to collect your weekly wage you need two things: 1) Perfect attendance for the week, 2) No in school or out of school suspensions.

If they pass an economic and health test e.g. know types of loans especially home loans and pay day loans, the insidious nature of credit cards, what is good nutrition, especially the dangers of sugar and cigarettes, they get a bonus of $50.

I recommend a wage of $25/week. For a 40 week year the student with perfect attendance (sick days validated by a doctor are acceptable) would get $1000. Maximum cost: about $14.5 billion/year. That’s assuming perfect attendance for the entire year by every student.

Giving the kids a little spending money would provide significant multiplier effects because most kids, unlike the big banks, will actually spend the money. We should see an increase in consumerism because the steady “employment” will be a continuous revenue stream for the kids.


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    Feb 6 2012: Okay, my brain is shouting, 'no way', but my head is sort of nodding up and down at the same time. As someone who is always looking for ways to motivate students, I can see a case-by-case application of this. It happens already to a degree, as far as I know. We have social programs for 'at risk' adolescents, and they are rewarded in a variety of ways for appropriate behaviours. (Sadly, Dan Pink's Autonomy-Mastery-Purpose theories don't really apply to teens.)
    • Feb 6 2012: Really? It does not apply to teens? I would like to get more details about how you know that? Do you for example have a research as a reference to support your claim?
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        Feb 7 2012: Hi Manue,
        ...just my own observations from working with groups of adolescents. I've found that many adolescents are terribly preoccupied with how others think of them - so much so, that it can really mess up their self-awareness, and change what they want, to wanting what others think they want. It's often a maturity issue, as far as I can tell. As a result, their honest thoughts and feelings concerning A-M-P are less predictable than you might think. That's why it can't reliably be applied to teens - at least, not while they are open to the incredibly powerful influence of their peers.
        • Feb 7 2012: Sorry, I cannot just blindly believe what you say, even thus, I am sure you have a very good experience in the field. There is a woman I met who gives money to her kids to do their homework. It does work at least on the short term, but what does it teach them? They will never work for themselves.
          I think there is an issue, but the answer could be somewhere else.
          Finland for example has an excellent educational system. I am not saying that it could be transferred as it is in any country, but I am convinced that we can learn from them.
          Maybe teens should get more open questions to work on for example. I went one year to high school in the us and in many subjects too often, all I had to do to pass the test what choose an answer between four propositions..... Booooooring!! Also I felt the disciplines where not being crossed enough. You study the second world war only from when the Americans get in. In my high school, Almost nothing was said about the genocides. Almost nothing was said on a philosophical and ethical point of view.... Etc... This is the interesting part. Also, Teens could benefit from getting more empowerment over what they need to study in my opinion. Not for everything, maybe but for some things. they are intersted in love, ok, let them study how the chemical response of the body of someone in love. Let them read and study classical authors like Stendhal who describes the physical sensations of falling in love. If you have the chance to test that idea on the teens you work with, please let me know what results you got!!
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      Feb 6 2012: sure they apply to teens. Teenagers want Autonomy over their time, they do want to master what they love and they feel a sense of value when they do something important. I think their current predicament is being stuck in a system (school) that doesn't allow them access to any of those. They feel bored, useless and probably a little like cattle.

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