Following suit with programs in Chicago and New York, it looks like a group of schools in Washington has now jumped on the cash-incentive bandwagon, according to this Washington Post article. About 3,000 students could earn as much as $1,500 per academic year for good behavior, getting to class on time, and earning high grades. The program, called Capital Gains, is the brainchild of Roland Fryer, who crafted similar programs in New York and Chicago.
In light of the economic climate in this country right now, there’s another aspect of this program that I think could be beneficial for kids: teaching them how to manage their money. Everything the students earn is put into a savings account that can only be accessed with their permission, says the article. Giving kids experience with handling money and bank accounts from an early age can only be helpful in the long run, in my opinion.
What I’m really curious about at this point is looking at the data for some of Fryer’s longer-running programs to see if they are making a positive difference in student motivation and academic achievement. During the two-week trial period before Capital Gains was officially launched, educators noticed that tardiness and classroom behavior improved, but grades stayed the same. It’ll be awhile before we know how this particular program is working, but data on the incentive program in New York should be rolling in pretty soon, which I think will shed a lot of light on the longterm effects of this approach.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.