Should kids get cash rewards for good grades? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Should kids get cash rewards for good grades?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Does it pay to give your kids money for good grades? It's clearly controversial, based on the mixed opinions we got from parents, teachers and students at Tampa Charter School.

Sandy Santeiro's son William is a 8th grader. She said she doesn't believe in paying for good grades.

"It's an expectation, it's what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to do well in school and always try their best."

Jesus Yepez, father of 10-year-old Valeria, believes it's a form of bribery.

"It will create a culture that will tell them, okay, if you do this little bit more for the company or for the job, you're gonna get a bonus and that's just not the reality, so it's putting them up for unrealistic expectations," he said

Valeria is a straight "A" student at Tampa Charter and she knows that getting paid for good grades in not an option. She said the grade itself is the reward.

"I think, oh my God, I got an 'A', you know, still straight 'A' student, I'm fine with that."

Jesus added, "She's proud of what she accomplishes on her own. We don't need to stimulate her further."

However, Nikki Finney said her son Seth, 13, does need the extra push.

"C's we don't pay anything, D's you owe me, F's, we won't even talk about that, because it's never happened, but B's we give five dollars and A's we give ten dollars," she said.

"I wasn't doing that well," Seth explained, "and then they started paying me for grades and my grades improved immensely."

While that might sound good, Sara Kiefer, an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at USF, warns parents against paying kids for good grades.

"One of the pro sides is, yes, we do see a change of behavior, but a lot of times, it's limited at best. We see short term gains, we don't always see the long term gains in terms of students being really motivated themselves," Kiefer said.

Johanna Ramos said paying her 8th grader Edgar for grades not only motivates him, but it also teaches him the value of money.

"They're thinking every time they are lagging behind, that , I'm gonna lose," she said.

Yet, she may be surprised to hear what her son said.

"Money isn't really what I want, it's the education my dad wants me to get," explained Edgar.

Hi teacher, Nicole Bernor, disapproves of a pay-per-grade system.

"I want them to have a passion for school, not for that paycheck," she said.

It's that paycheck idea, however, that is the motivation for some parents to put a dollar sign on grades. Michelle Valentonis explained the reasoning behind paying her 12-year-old son Alexander for his grades.

"We've always told him since he was little that going to school is his job, so we agreed to pay him for doing his job of going to school."

Instead of an allowance, he gets ten bucks for every "A", and that's it.

"I like the idea because it motivates me to really try harder," Alex said.

His mother went further to explain, "If he gets a 'B', there's nothing. If he gets a 'C', he owes us $10 and 'D's and 'F's were not even considered. That's not even an option in our family."

Still, experts warn that paying kids like Alexander, who already do well, can be detrimental.

"It can actually decrease their motivation. It can decrease their creativity. It can also decrease their performance."

It's certainly something to think about, before you put a price on that report card.

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