Keeping Up with the Jonzee still at the right spot.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bump you! Pay Me!

So, Dr. Fryer is paying children to learn and folks are up in arms.

Not surprised.

But its not such a far out radical idea. Dr. Freyer just had the balls to say it straight up. "Pay them to learn".

Its no different than a kid getting a new book (like I did) or a special dinner when they bring home a great report card. Or how about programs like Upward Bound or College STEP? As a STEP alum, I got a $5,000 stipend every year I was in the program and did what I was supposed to do. I don't hear anyone hollering about that--and Upward Bound is probably one of the greatest experiences a teenager could have.

All examples of incentivized learning.

I get why so many are like "we are teaching children materialism", we are "using money as a means to an end", etc. But lets step down off our high-minded idealism about education and be real. Children are surrounded by materialism and the need to "get money" long before they walk in the classroom door--particularly if you are a poor child. Over my years of mentoring, I have listened to many a child talk about money. To my kids, money, or the lack of it, is the reason they don't have, can't get, can't have. The link between "getting money" and education is not tangible to them. To my mentees its been more like 'show me why I should' not tell me.

But showing and not just telling takes people who can demonstrate that education can get you further than you ever imagined. People talk alot of shit. But don's show up to do this "showing".

Until we get more folks doing by volunteering and mentoring rather than "running the yap" about what should be done, Dr. Freyers plan for a small sample of children will be that motivation.


Unless of course we are about to start a new movement of successful people of color volunteering for one-on-one...


Thought so. Talk shit amongst yourselves.


  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger La Maestra said…

    The world (work, school, relationships, etc) is based on motivation through incentives. So its not unusual nor a big deal in my humble opinion.

  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger James C. Collier said…

    Freyer is a smart guy, but his NYC gig is not a Pavlog exercise, which could make it worthwhile, its just bribery. We should also pay fat people not to eat, and poor people not to have unprotected sex? Where does it stop?

  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger So...Wise...Sista said…

    How bout it's not always about materialism. Som ekids actually need money for food and clothes. And not Jordans, but underwear and jackets. And I dont see why people are mad. It's not like they're paying the property taxes to fund better facilities for students. The shit's so messed up we gotta try anything. I applaud Dr. Freyer for TRYING and holding off judgment until after evaluations.

  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger AY said…

    The Bloomberg administration is trying a similar pay-to-learn approach to get kids to learn, and this strategy was adapted from ongoing, successful initiatives that started in developing countries, which I might add, can look very similar to inner cities in the U.S. So why shouldn't we pay our children to learn? Why not give them something that they can aspire to, other than hustling to make money? I don't see the problem with it. What I see a problem with is old heads -- those old enough to talk about what they "did" during the civil rights movement -- not realizing that we don't really live in that kind of world anymore. Yes, we still battle racism (and some of us get a second douse of an -ism), but on a larger front we battle self-hate, depression, and just plain old ignorance when it comes to our community. I am so tired of folks talking!!! I and 38 y.o. and volunteer for two educational enrichment programs for kids who could easily fall through the cracks. And some do. But I wake up every Saturday morning during the academic year b/c I so firmly believe I cannot talk about what some kid should be doing automatically or could do without being an example. I try to be that example. I try to instill in them to take every opportunity they can. And at their graduation, I gave my two girls gift cards -- a monetary appreciation, a gift, a payment -- because they did what they were supposed to do. The whole notion of not awarding people is just ludicrous. Folks go to work everyday and do what they are supposed to do but at the end of the year they "expect" to be compensated for their hard work. So tell me what is the difference? As Black folks we have to keep trying new things until we find what works, because what we've been doing does not!


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