Opinion: Students should not be paid for good grades

While many have made arguments to incentivize students to do well in school, I do not believe in students getting paid for getting good grades.

I feel that students should work hard in school for the sake of gaining a deeper understanding and not to make money.

Students do not need a promise or reward just to get good grades in school. With success in the classroom and in life requiring effort, paying students for good grades sends the wrong message. It sends the message that the reason to work hard and stay in school is to make your bank account fatter instead of growing the knowledge you keep in your mind.

When students have access to rewards for their schoolwork and grades, their attitude about learning changes. Instead of seeking knowledge, kids begin to wonder what’s in it for them every time an assignment comes their way.

While paying students for good grades will likely encourage them to keep doing good in class, it fails to prepare them for the real world where everything you do isn’t rewarded.

According to connectusfund.org, “Paying students for good grades can provide some community benefits, but it doesn’t change the overall problem that faces society. Different children are going to perform better when money is an incentive. Kids who have a desire to learn will continue to benefit from that trait whether they get paid for it or not. A child who has no desire to learn will only work hard when the cash payments have value. If that value disappears, then so does the work ethic.”

There have been a handful of studies over the years that have looked at paying students for their attendance and grades.

Chelsea High School in Massachusetts was part of the research ground — giving students a $25 reward for perfect attendance during a school term. The school ran the program from 2004-2008, but it produced almost no change to students’ academic performance or overall attendance.

Because of its spotty record of success and its failure to prepare kids for the real world, paying students is a bad way to encourage students to excel in school.