There’s a reward waiting for Moises Banuelos if he passes the standardized tests in three Advanced Placement classes he’s taking this semester at Denver’s Abraham Lincoln High School: $100 for each qualifying score. “It shows that hard work pays off,” said Banuelos, 16, who hopes to receive the money from a program channeled through the Colorado Legacy Foundation. “If you really study your butt off and get a good turn out, it should be recognized with an incentive.” As educators continue to debate the effectiveness — or even the propriety — of using financial rewards to boost academic achievement, Colorado has moved forward, and the National Math and Science Initiative-backed program soon will operate in 30 schools. It aims to increase participation among students who traditionally don’t enroll in AP classes. Already, it has posted big gains in some schools that regard it as a cost-effective way to advance achievement. “What we found was that the small cash incentive of $100 for each qualifying score will get your attention,” said Heather Fox, spokeswoman for the Colorado Legacy Foundation. “But you have to want to do the work. It’s a huge commitment on the part of the students.” But the basic question, says Tony Lewis of the reform-minded Donnell-Kay Foundation, is what constitutes the primary motivator in education. “When students are provided rigorous, relevant, exciting curricula, that’s the motivator, not money,” Lewis said. “To think that we could turn it on its head through economics, I don’t think is right — or fundamentally works.”
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i'm the leftist liberal you've been warned about - the one who genuinely supports the expansion of the welfare state. i love politics and data and graffiti and street art and am far too lazy to use my shift key. if you need to reach me, you can email to abbyjean at the google email service.