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Superintendent Proposes Paying Students to Raise Test Scores

Kansas City School Superintendent Bernard Taylor Jr. has proposed paying students to boost standardized test scores. Education experts are divided on the idea, and some state lawmakers see it as ridiculous. Taylor proposed setting aside $239, 250 for the project. Students would receive a reward valued between $20 and $80. Taylor says he is considering distributing the award in tickets to an amusement park or certificates for books instead of cash. Taylor said he believes the incentive could motivate students to do better on the tests.

Jay Heubert, associate professor of education at Teachers College, compared the student incentives to bonuses for superintendents, principals and teachers and commended Kansas City for taking a bold new approach. "We don't have a clear system of rewards for kids," he said. "Our idea of motivation seems to be a stick, not the carrot....No one seems to think that it is wrong to reward adults."

The article, entitled "Superintendent Wants to Pay District Students for Higher Test Scores" appeared in the March 13th edition of the Kansas City Star.

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