LocaKitty (locakitty) wrote,

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Every now and again, I get to listen to NPR in the car. I very rarely turn the radio on while I'm at home so, it's in the car that I get to listen to some of my favorite shows. A day or so ago, I believe it was on Talk of the Nation, they were discussing some initiative in New York to give cash rewards, or incentives as they were calling them, to students for getting good grades.

As a primary school student, I did receive money every now and again from my parents as a reward for good grades. They did it for me until about the 2nd or 3rd grade. They knew I was smart, and I am, but my grades weren't really showing it. I was purposefully throwing my tests so that I wouldn't get straight A's. You see, being smart was bad. Being smart pegged you as a nerd and you would be teased mercilessly. I already had a few things going against me, being nerdy was not yet another thing that I wanted to have thrown my way. So, cash rewards helped a bit. What also helped was that I was moved into the gifted classes. I was surrounded by kids who were smart and we went to academic competitions and what not together, so we KNEW that everyone was smart.

Did the cash help? Yes and no. It gave me some spending money, but honestly, it was being moved to a new environment that helped the most. Being ALLOWED to be smart was where it was at, at least for my experiences.

So, these kids, should they be rewarded for excelling in school? No, I don't think so. As Lisa and I both agreed, the education itself should be the reward. Hey! You aren't a dummy! Yay! You can read, write and do basic math! This is fantastic! All this will do, in my not so humble opinion, is further the trend that I have been seeing in today's youth (i feel really old when I say that shit) is that they feel this sense of entitlement just because they tried. I hear it from C and some of her students. "I should get an A because I tried!"

Sorry, you don't get graded on effort. If you did, I'd have a lot of medals because I TRIED to do a chin up. I didn't get the Presidential Physical Fitness Award because I tried to do pullups and stretchs and what not. Come to think of it, I never did get that award. You know why? Because I didn't complete the standards to accomplish that goal. Oh well, no big deal. Physical things aren't really up my alley. Now, the Academic Fitness Award, oh yeah, I got that shit. Because I am smart. And educated.

Let me get back on track here. I hear from some of the people I manage, "Can I have a raise?"
"Why do you feel you deserve a raise?"
"I show up for all my shifts. I am in uniform. I do my job."
"Congratulations, you do what I pay you to do. Yay! Here's a fucking cookie. Sorry, but your performance really doesn't strike me as raiseworthy."
"Well, you show up, but not on time. You are chronically late. You put out sloppy product that I am having to go behind and fix. You don't do what I tell you to do. Honestly, I don't know why you still have a job here."
"But, I show up every shift."
"Yes, so do I."

Like C gets, "I turned the paper in."
"Yes, but it's short two pages."
"But I tried."

One of the questions that was asked of the guy who wrote the Op-Ed piece regarding the proposal was if the negative reaction was because it was just cash. If it were credit toward books or scholarship funds or school supplies, would that make it a little better. And he replied that maybe, yes, it would be a little better.

That gave me pause and made me think about summertime when I was growing up. My mom didn't believe in having a summer off. She felt that I should always be learning new things or reading or something. So, if any of the schools in the area had a summer enrichment program, she would sign me up. I learned some basic French, Spanish, Journalism, Creative Writing, Critical Thinking and various other things that helped round me out and have helped me later in life. Did I get any tangible rewards from that? No. So why should these kids get a tangible reward for improving their future selves?

I don't think they should.

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