Student pay offers educational opportunity

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Throughout my pre-college educational career, I always wished I could get paid to go to class. I had to work hard for seven hours in school and then spend an additional three hours doing homework and studying for upcoming tests and quizzes. It felt like it was a full-time job at times, so shouldn’t I have gotten something in return?

According to Yahoo News, there is a program in three vocational schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods of Paris that is doing exactly that. A class account is set up with $3,000 in it. For good performance and good attendance, reward payments of up to $15,000 are placed into the accounts. The only catch is that the money cannot be spent on frivolous items, like an Xbox. Instead, the money can be used for class trips abroad, for driving lessons, or for better computers. The main purpose for paying kids to go to school is to keep them in school and reduce the high number of dropouts.

This is a smart way of setting up this program. Since the money goes into a class account, the money is not directly in the hands of individuals, who might try to spend it on items that detract from education, not promote it. Would you want to give a kid ten bucks for showing up to class, just for him to spend it on candy, get really sick from eating too much, and miss class because of it?

If the parents kept the money, there is a chance that they might spend it on items for themselves or the whole family, not on the child for whom the money was intended. Creating a class account prevents an individual from getting tempted to spend the money on useless junk and keeps it in the hands of a teacher or the principal, who can then help the class decide what to do with it.

Keeping the money for educational growth is a great idea. That way, students who constantly complain about how slow the computers are in school have a way of solving that issue. It may also allow students the opportunity to travel to far-off places to learn about a new language and culture.

Despite the potential success of such a program, seeing it in the United States is highly unlikely in the near future due to our hard economic times. If, in the future, we were to create a program that rewards students for success, I would be all for it.

However, it must not reward the school or the teachers themselves. Teachers are a big part of why I am here today, but there have been a few exceptions. Some teachers seem to only read through the textbook rather than teach the students anything, To prevent an unfair atmosphere in which the teacher forces the student to only memorize the textbook, the money should be for the students. The students could then use that money to better their educational experience.

Schools are made to help prepare students for the real world. They should experience the world in which their work is rewarded with money to help make their lives better.

Bryan Manderscheid is a freshman engineering major. He can be reached for comment at bmandersch@smu.edu.

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