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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

High school students to get $100 for every AP exam passed

Students at Wilby High School in Waterbury, Connecticut have a chance to clean up: for each Advanced Placement exam that they pass, the school will pay them $100. It's part of a plan to increase participation in the school's AP programs.

For what it's worth: I've never liked "incentive programs" like this. For years school administrators across the country have been attempting to "bribe" students to study harder and make better grades: offering them money, high-tech toys and even cars in return. But there's never been any evidence that stunts like this actually work to increase scholarship in the long run. And it smacks too much of slapping the proverbial Band-Aid on the festering wound that is so much of what's wrong with modern public education without addressing the real problems.

But mostly, I guess it bothers me that education for its own sake is something that is no longer treasured in this country, so schools have to "seduce with candy" in order to get students motivated to learn. As if the whole point of having an education is to have an asset toward more material gain. Whatever happened to thinking and understanding of things, solely for the joy of such thought and understanding?

Still though, if I was a student at this high school, how could I complain? Passing a few AP tests would let me buy a bunch of good loot. Or maybe gas for my car for a few days...