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To Bribe or Not to Bribe

Do kids show up at church for the treats and trinkets?

Time magazine's April 16 cover story poses a provocative question: Should Schools Bribe Kids?

Before you give "no" as your final answer, consider comments shared by Chyna, an eighth-grader and study participant who received payments. The Time reporter asked her opinion about psychologists' assertions that children should work hard and do well in school for the love of learning alone. "Honestly?" she asked. "We're kids. Let's be realistic."

While the article neither endorses nor condemns offering students cash to learn, I found this topic fascinating because of the study's focus—student motivation. The Harvard team that conducted the study wanted to see if money could serve as an incentive that improves academic performance. The research director based his interest in this approach because "unlike reforms focused on the teacher of the curriculum, it treated kids not as inanimate objects but as human beings who behave in interesting ways."

And kids certainly do behave in interesting ...

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