Pay students, parents for good math grades?

August 26, 2010 4:56:23 PM PDT
A new plan in some Houston schools would pay students and parents for the child's hard work. The program will be aimed at certain elementary students in Houston ISD. It's a plan that will be done in conjunction with Harvard University researchers, and for certain parents and students, they could earn up to $1,000 a year just for doing well in math.

For Amber Reid, the idea that anyone would pay her if her kids passed math milestones isn't something that ever crossed her mind.

"I think you're a parent. that's your job as a parent," Reid said. "You chose to have children; you have children -- you don't need to get paid to teach your children."

But that's exactly what Houston ISD is doing. It's identified 70 elementary schools whose fifth graders scored lowest on math tests.

The bottom scorers are Frost Elementary, Kelso Elementary, Kandy Stripe Academy, Gregory-Lincoln Ed Center, and Woodson Elementary. Of those, they'll pick 25 out of the 70 schools where parents and students would get paid for each math milestone pass.

"I would like it. Who doesn't like money?" seventh grader Kaleigh Reid asked. "But it's just a really strange idea."

HISD says it's testing this program out in elementary schools because they are smaller, can provide more income per student, and parents will be able to help the kids out with math.

But parents we talked to say that's something they would do anyway.

"I guess any good incentive for them to do well, but I guess I'm old school and you just did good because you have to do good," parent Charity Cantu said. "

But the idea does have its fans.

"Would that make you study more?" Eyewitness News asked fourth grader Zane Reid.

"Sure, yeah, it depends on how much they're going to pay you," he said.

They would pay the students and parents $2 for every math milestone passed. That's something that was determined by the district.

Parents who are participating also will get $20 for every parent-teacher conference they attend.

HISD will select 25 schools for the program and another 25 as a control group, and Harvard University will be keeping track of the program.

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