Saturday, February 25, 2012

Should schools offer incentives for good behavior/parent participation?

Did you know that some schools in District 150 are now giving school "bucks" to students who exhibit good behavior? With these bucks, you can go to the school store and purchase everything from Doritos to pencils to entry to the school's basketball game.

What's considered good behavior? Oh, stuff like... turning in your homework = 5 bucks; incomplete but turn in homework = 2 bucks; respectful in class = 6 bucks; helping teacher = 10 bucks; being quiet in class = 1 buck each. Depending on exactly what the school store is stocked with, these bucks can be a teacher's best friend. Get some good junk food like hot Cheetos or pickles, you could possibly get some bad kids to let you have the floor in your classroom. How about that?

One District 150 School is holding their parent teacher conferences today from 8:30 to noon, with a second scheduled time on Wednesday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. In my opinion, these are very convenient times - every parent should be able to make it, right? But wait, the school is offering an incentive... a free lunch at McDonald's to the first three classes that have 100% parent participation. This just might be the carrot the kids need to hound parents to get their behinds up to the school - the hopes of getting a junk food meal from McDonald's.

Sometimes these little food and gift incentives work to get students and their parents to do what they should already be doing, but they are a bandaid and soon lose their luster. I mean come on, kids go to McDonald's all the time. Time to offer something like Red Lobster. 

All sarcasm aside, I just think it's unfortunate that schools are now bribing people with junk food, in the hopes that they will be a responsible student, parent, and/or citizen and just wish we could come up with something else.

What do you think, should schools offer students and parents incentives? If they do, what kind of incentives should they be?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Emerge,

May I beg a favor? Please do not use white to type. The grey background is not dark enough for some of us. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Our school does "bucks" as well. It is supposed to reward the good kids who are often overlooked but many teachers use it to bribe the troublemakers. I know of a school that had a cookout on Back-to-School night in order to increase the parent turnout. The parents did come, ate, and left without visiting classrooms/teachers. It is a sad commentary on our society that students and parents need to be bribed in order to do what they should be doing. Thank you, Emerge, for pointing this out.

Mahkno said...

No to incentives. Teaches them a poor life lesson. If they come to expect incentives in school, they will expect them in the work world too, only to be sorely disappointed.

TEACHER said...

Mahkno: I agree. As a D150 teacher, I rarely give out "rewards". Our students need to learn the value of intrinsic rewards(doing something because it is the right thing to do). I explain to my students that their reward is a high quality education, preparing them to be live-long learners. Emerge: I completely agree with you regarding rewards being a "band-aid". It's funny, at my school, all the troublemakers have the largest amount of "bucks". What message does that send to the 95% who are ALWAYS doing the right thing. Unless the district intends on upping the ante till it's a piece of jewelry from Tiffany's, it needs to stop. I remind my students that my boss does not reward me with "gifts" for coming to school on time or being prepared....I get to KEEP my job(reward enough)!

Anonymous said...

I am a really old fashioned kind of guy, the "reward" is called a free education. And, if you want the parents to come try free beer night, ok, I am joking about that. Most kids have money to buy what they want, and it is better then what we can offer. I remember a sub at on of the schools brought in homemade cookies and the kids threw them at her, they wanted store bought. Just saying.

TEACHER said...

Anonymous: I agree. A free, public education is the REWARD. Funny how the students at my school have money for "hot chips" and Mountain Dew for snacks, but have NO PENCILS, NO FOLDERS, NO CRAYONS, NO SCISSORS and are usually late for school because "ummmmmmm my mom wouldn't get up".

Anonymous said...

how do you teach intrinsic rewards. Do nothing, check comes, Link is recharged, free school lunches and book fees waived, school supplies come by magic fairies, LiHeap keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Generation after generation is being taught this lack of work ethic. so yes, they expect to be paid to do something that they really don't want to do. Why learn when you don't have to work. Society sustains poverty by paying for it. Society sustains crime by funding it.

Frustrated said...

Parents - no free lunch, showing up is their duty.

Young children - I like a reward system but not the one described by posters above. School is for learning and so it is performance that counts. Passing grades should get a student limited rewards. Great grades should earns a student BIG rewards, but it should be at appropriate junctures such as mid-term and end of semester and/or end of school year. Students need to learn self-control, self-discipline, consistency, and delayed gratification. If you are going to teach a lesson it has to be real. District 150 curriculum and standards for evaluation have to be tied to real world standards.

A student "meeting standards" on the ISAT is not on track to be college material. Students hitting 75% or above . . . now we are talking.

Anonymous said...

I tried to teach my students about intrinsic rewards and they just stared at me in disbelief.

Another freebie: Free rides to the polling place. Oh--and free breakfast for those who eat three and four bags of chips and wash them down with a large, sugared soda at lunchtime.

Anonymous said...

My all-time favorite "reward system" given in a D150 School. Roosevelt Magnet School's principal at the time Taunya Jenkins had A Honor Roll, A-B Honor Roll, and she, yes, she did, have a C Honor Roll. Tell me, how do you honor someone for doing AVERAGE work? Most of the kids she let get away with murder are now incarcerated. Way to reward them Taunya. Oh, isn't she Lathan's number ONE principal???

teacher said...

How many high schools have this reward system. RHS is going to next year, is what I heard. When all else fails bribe them.

Anonymous said...

District 150 where REMARKABLE happens.

Anonymous said...

Hello

teacher said...

hello

teachingrocks said...

I have a hard time with students turning in incomplete homework and receiving some "bucks" for it. This pay 'em for doing next to nothing is ridiculous, but it is what they see happening at home.

I agree with the teacher who said it is the worst students who wind up with the most bucks/tickets/incentives because those are the ones who are causing all the disruption. You spend so much time trying to settle them down and get them to act right that the ones who actually come to school, want to learn, and behave are left out time and time again. It is an absolute disgrace that we can not get the extreme misbehavers out of the classroom.

When are PARENTS going to be held responsible for their children? No teacher went to college and worked hard to become certified to teach so they could be kicked, punched, threatened, or severly injured. The conditions are ridiculous and the parents sit at home with the school's phone number blocked and say, "It is between 8:15 and 3:45. He's not MY problem!"

Anonymous said...

Lathan said that she was going to take a tough stance on discipline. She has taken no stance on discipline. Her stance is to ignore the behaviors. Woodruff is a joke. It's easier breaking into Fort Knox than it is getting a student enrolled at Woodruff. What is their enrollment 100? Wow!

Rixblix said...

Doing nothing isn't working...it's good to see schools/teachers TRYING to find something to motivate. As its been stated in other comments, these students have not developed any sort of internal motivation so it's impossible to expect that behaving for the sake of behaving is any sort of motivation. The question is how do you move a student from external motivation to internal? It doesn't just happen, it's learned and has to be taught. And we have to start somewhere.

Dennis in Peoria said...

1. Dist. 150 is not only disrict with parents not attending P/T conferences. When my daughters were attending Pekin (1 graduated in '05, the other in '08), my wife and I made all of them, even though the girls were doing well. We kept hearing from the Pekin teachers that the parents that really needed to show up, weren't showing up.

2. I don't have a problem with incentives, but disagree with McDonald's food, or bucks for incomplete homework.

3. You will never get 100% of student population to eat regular healthier cafeteria food. Heck, many of my friends ate chips, soda, shakes or candy for lunch when I was at PCHS 1974-1978, but I always ate the regular meal, because I was taught to do that. (loved the tenderloins)

4. To the one Anonymous about LIHEAP: folks can only get a 1-TIME PAYMENT per year, of about $300. If they are disconnected, they can get reconnected if they pay a percentage of what's due, again, a 1-time deal. They don't get free utilities all year. There hasn't been any summer cooling program for about 2 years. (I work for PCCEO, so I know the facts on LIHEAP)

Emerge Peoria said...

Feel better about yourself now? Good.

Anonymous said...

The late Sam Kinison once joked that when your girlfriend says "I need you" what she really means is "I am a black hole of emotion who will suck the very life out of you!" Too many of students/children today are black holes of emotion who will suck the life out of you. One could argue several reasons for the void in today's children. I think that good kids who do not fall into the black hole category probably enjoy the rewards and are grateful for them. However, I don't think that there could ever be enough of a reward to reel back in the black holes. I don't know if such programs can help to overcome the voids that hold so many students back. They will just want more and more or find ways to beat the system. Very sad. Come Hello Kitty, Come!!!!

Chef Kevin said...

School didn't motivate me. Avoiding my mother's paddle or my father's leather like hands applied to my butt for messing up or bad grades motivated me.

I know...can't do that in today's society, but I'm guessing that may be part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what dollar amount is spent on these incentives? If it is a large amount is it taking away from other things the schools need?

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is a little off topic but how can we expect kids to behave when adults behave so horribly. A little bit ago we were leaving Northwoods Mall to hear a caucasian woman cussing out and threatening another driver in the parking lot. I asked if there had been an accident and another observer said "No--the cussing woman's husband was waiting for a parking space." So, the cusser wanted a close parking space and was blocking a lane of traffic that another driver wanted to go down. So, instead of just finding another space farther away the woman decided to get out of the car and cuss out the other driver--who might have earlier used some choice words as well. These were people driving a nice SUV and a nice station wagon. Wow!! I doubt that the cusser realizes how riduculous she appeared to those of us observing. I'm sure that she will rationalize her behavior to all who will listen.

Sharon Crews said...

These material incentives at the high school level are truly absurd. The young people who have little control over their behaviors (not offering an excuse but self-control is not easy to come by if it has not be acquired at an earlier age) will be even more angry when they don't receive the incentives.
My own observation is that the children in my life who go to Whittier truly do respond to the days when they are "put on red"--they come home bragging about being on green all day, etc.
Emerge is right--unless the ante is raised higher and higher (and 150 and its teachers cannot afford that), kids will tire of what soon become meaningless incentives.

Mominallofus said...

I'm a teacher in 150. Our school passes out a special ticket if a child is caught doing something good. It's up to the teacher how she rewards it. I do have a "shop" that I use to reward children who earn tickets from me. I'm not sure why people think that adults don't get rewarded though. If you do what you're supposed to at work, you earn raises and bonuses. I do make sure I talk about pride in what your do and learning how to control yourself because that's what right, not because someone is watching over you. I also don't reward on a consistent basis. My students are older and this does help wean them from a rewards system. They never know when they will get recognized or be able to turn in their tickets for prizes. By the way, I fund this. I put tooth brushes, soap, deoderant, pencils, erasers, eat lunch in room and other goodies in there. All different prices so children are working on math. My third grade teacher did this too and I loved it! It was nice to get a little something extra for making good choices.
Let's remember too that sadly, some children won't get recognized at home when they've done something good OR bad. I think someone has taken this information and blown it WAY out of proportion. This is a part of the PBIS model. Look it up and you'll see this isn't just a 150 thing. It's a part of a program people - grow up and find something else to pick on.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mom,

Please share with us the bonuses and performance raises you have received from 150.

Mominallofus said...

Just for reference sake, I asked the group of children I was working with at church this morning how many of them earn prizes at school and they all raised their hands. Guess what, they all come from different schools. The child who will receive a pizza party if everyone in the class returns their "clocks" (reading log or math activity perhaps) goes to Peoria Christian. The child who has a treasure box every Friday, Peoria Christian. The child who gets candy for good behavior, Brimfield.
By the way, I currently don't receive performance raises or bonuses, but if legislators have their way, all teachers will be eligible. As soon as that happens, I would like to make sure that all parents are held accountable for the children they send to school. I don't get to choose who I educate. I do the best I can with what I get, but I can't make a child do homework, get enough sleep, eat good meals, exercise daily, stop watching tv, make sure their parents talk to them from the time they are born, discipline then effectively, make sure all of their emotional needs are met, get proper medical treatment, stop moving 3 times a year, attend church, etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

What about all the incentives at the high schools? That must cost quite a bit of money. From what I hear they don't just have McDonalds or pizza parties.

Anonymous said...

You got that right! Heck...one high school always had a faculty student basketball game and the money raised from it was place in envelopes and given to the students that score the highest on the PSAE. But then again wasn't Kitty momma the one who paid students for grades in NC....just sayin

Anonymous said...

From what I hear the high schools are giving incentives to students for coming to school on time, for coming to school at all, for being good in class, etc. and we're not talking about a candy bar. It is field trips including going to the movies, parties, meals, etc. That has to be costing the district a lot of money. This is sure teaching the students how the real world is.

Anonymous said...

How about offer reward bucks to the teachers that are punished everyday. HMM a paycheck not enough to be humilated, threaten, spit at, and cussed and Johnny Kadeem can't read.