Mayor Bloomberg’s three-year pilot program gave parents monetary rewards for doing things, as The New York Times of March 31 reported, “like going to the dentist ($100) or holding a full-time job ($150 per month). Children were rewarded for attending school ($25 to $50 per month) or passing a high school Regents exam ($600).”
The program, which cost about $40 million of privately raised funds, will finally end in August of this year. It was called Opportunity NYC Family Rewards and involved 2,400 families. Those who participated “earned on average more than $6,000 a year in the first two years.” The program was terminated apparently because it was determined to be too complicated.
I suggest a smaller and simpler program targeted to schools — again, with private money — rewarding children who reach certain academic goals with monies to be deposited into college trust accounts and held for them until they graduate from high school.
I would also give rewards — again, on meeting some educational standards — of bicycles and designer clothes for students. Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs has said with regard to the terminated pilot program, “Big lesson for the future? Got to make it a lot more simple.”
Kudos to the mayor and deputy mayor for trying out new programs. Also commendable is their ending programs that don’t work or don’t work well enough.
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