Should We Be Paying Kids To Do Well?

the Huffington Post—May 5, 2010

By Helene Pavlov, MD, FACR, Radiologist in Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery

This question was raised by Time Magazine in a piece titled “Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School?”

This article discusses recent research conducted by Harvard economist Roland Fryer Jr. Fryer who ran a randomized experiment in hundreds of classrooms across multiple cities. He used mostly private funds to pay 18,000 kids a total of $6.3 million and worked with a team of researchers to analyze the effects. The results were inconclusive, but Fryer learned that although money talks with kids, there is much more to learning than just a paycheck.

When I read about whether kids should be paid to succeed, I believe that there needs to be more than just money for motivation. Children -- and adults -- need to know that parents, teachers and others in their lives support and believe that they can succeed and take pleasure in their accomplishments. Instant gratification confirms that they are valuable and have worth. The potential for success is worth a try.

Read the full article at


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