Barb

Congrats to Roland Fryer! Anything to help the kids learn!

Princess Leia

Sounds pretty cool. Keep us updated on whether it works...

Felipe

Tutors are an old idea; mobile phones, an older one: "How to allure this biggest of all consumers, the State?". In the end of the day, kids will get an impersonal text message ended with "Jay-Z" et al. I hope I'm wrong.

TruePath

Giving the kids cash would be a reasonable and good idea.

Giving them cheap (or even free) cellphones is going to seem like a cheap corporate ploy to them not to mention the fact that many of these kids will already have cellphones. Our society is pretty cynical about products that get given away for free given all the advertising campaigns we see so if you want credibility you really need to give pure cash.

Ohh and don't forget the public relations backlash that will happen when someone publishes a (statistically unrepresentitive) story about them being used for drug dealing.

Taurean

I always worry that programs like these send the wrong message to young students that academic achievement is something to be rewarded. Why should a student be motivated to attend class because he can receive a free ticket to a Jay-Z concert? A student should have an intrinsic motivation to be driven to succeed at school. What happens when that exigent factor for motivation no longer exists? When these kids move to the next level or change schools, will they cease being interested in their education because they won't receive a phone call from Lebron James when they score well on a test?

I think this plan is interesting and worth giving a try. However, I would be troubled if a plan like this were to implemented on a grander scale. Education shouldn't be *sold* to students by free mobile phones and concert tickets, it should be sold by inspiring and wonderful educators.

luke

taurean,

you are basically right. education should be its own reward. i agree, but it doesn't seem to be working that way.

partly due to the difficulty in getting inspiring and wonderful educators, but also for who knows what ever reasons. it just seems to happen many who have a huge ammount to gain from education don't put the weight on it we think they should. in this case, maybe some unrelated rewards will work to encourage education.

a case of a pragmatic but problematic fix?

Ablefable

The New Economic Textbook.
FOR ALL OF YOU!~!~!~!
http://adbusters.org/the_magazine/74/The_Economics_Textbook_of_the_21st_Century.html

zoe

They tried a version of this at my high school years ago. All it served to do was make the rewards uncool.

John

The best thing for education is the free market solution, in my opinion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfRUMmTs0ZA
(the thing that most economists subscribe to I think)

cbb

Part of me things this is a great idea- the current system is failing and we should be willing to try almost anything to succeed

But, part of me things this is a terrible idea- What kind of a lesson is this teaching kids, that the only things worth working hard for are material goods?

The biggest immediate problem, however, is the sample that they chose for the pilot -- kids from KIPP and other high-performing charter schools -- which poses two large problems:

1. These are not the kids that need help (especially with motivation) the most.

2. I would think the odds of the experiment showing an effect have been drastically lowered b/c these kids are already performing quite well -- how much will their performance possibly increase under this plan?

That said, the mentoring is an excellent idea

Keith Weintraub

Instead of a cell phone how about an OLPC laptop?

stu feinstein

Roland Fryer should be congratulated.
However,he is only skimming the surface of what is possible.I pioneered this economic concept in the 60's and 70's...
It works!...but there is so much more than pure reward...the media will focus on $$$$$ aspect as a perk...big mistake!
Focus on RESULTS!!!!....to those who fear the reality of economic incentive and reward I am puzzled/...if there were no economic reward I wonder who would show up for work tomorrow morning!
WE MUST EMBRACE CHANGE THAT WORKS!
stu feinstein

Shun Casey

1. Good grades are rewarded all the time in the 'burbs with "allowances" and brand new mustangs upon graduation from high school.

2. The old school way of thinking is just that...old school. We must realize that these kids of today are a different breed. Innovation is the only way to reach them. I applaud this brother. I'm sure the program will evolve.

Nannette Nelson

We must do whatever it takes to save our children, I commend Prof. Fryer for trying something new, money can be a very good incentive.
I am a product of the New York City school system from the late 50's & 60's in Harlem. I still believe the school system itself creates
an enviroment that does not education black children from the early grades. This keeps us down, if you do not have a good basic
education the rest of your education become difficult, depending upon how bad the student is crippled by the system and how strong they are.
Children today don't have much to fight with, poverty, younger parents, drugs, the music doesn't help, teachers that don't really care enough. We had some of the same issues in the 50's and 60's but the family was stronger. If you didn't get the good education then, work ethic was taught, and there were jobs for you if you were not highly educated. Prof. Fryer must talk to the children that's failing in the 5 or 6 grades, see
what is missing in his or her basic education and home life - and go from there. The system really has not changed enough in 50 years. I don't think you can blame a 2 grader for not learning. So, who is at fault?

I to applaud Prof. Fryer for the action he has taken to make a difference in the lives of black children.

Read more...

Barb

Congrats to Roland Fryer! Anything to help the kids learn!

Princess Leia

Sounds pretty cool. Keep us updated on whether it works...

Felipe

Tutors are an old idea; mobile phones, an older one: "How to allure this biggest of all consumers, the State?". In the end of the day, kids will get an impersonal text message ended with "Jay-Z" et al. I hope I'm wrong.

TruePath

Giving the kids cash would be a reasonable and good idea.

Giving them cheap (or even free) cellphones is going to seem like a cheap corporate ploy to them not to mention the fact that many of these kids will already have cellphones. Our society is pretty cynical about products that get given away for free given all the advertising campaigns we see so if you want credibility you really need to give pure cash.

Ohh and don't forget the public relations backlash that will happen when someone publishes a (statistically unrepresentitive) story about them being used for drug dealing.

Taurean

I always worry that programs like these send the wrong message to young students that academic achievement is something to be rewarded. Why should a student be motivated to attend class because he can receive a free ticket to a Jay-Z concert? A student should have an intrinsic motivation to be driven to succeed at school. What happens when that exigent factor for motivation no longer exists? When these kids move to the next level or change schools, will they cease being interested in their education because they won't receive a phone call from Lebron James when they score well on a test?

I think this plan is interesting and worth giving a try. However, I would be troubled if a plan like this were to implemented on a grander scale. Education shouldn't be *sold* to students by free mobile phones and concert tickets, it should be sold by inspiring and wonderful educators.

luke

taurean,

you are basically right. education should be its own reward. i agree, but it doesn't seem to be working that way.

partly due to the difficulty in getting inspiring and wonderful educators, but also for who knows what ever reasons. it just seems to happen many who have a huge ammount to gain from education don't put the weight on it we think they should. in this case, maybe some unrelated rewards will work to encourage education.

a case of a pragmatic but problematic fix?