Dallas ISD expands cash incentives for students

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA

Posted on September 21, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 21 at 6:07 PM

Poll:
Should Texas offer cash incentives for students who score well on tests?

DALLAS - Parents pay kids for good grades on their report cards.

But should school districts pay students to score well on standardized tests?

The Dallas ISD is expanding its financial incentive program to include all high school students.

They'll get  $100 for every Advanced Placement test on which they score a three or higher on a scale of five.

No students or teachers at the North Dallas High School are complaining about the program.

They are excited their high school is about to be included.

So far, nearly 10,000 DISD students have benefited from the scheme.

Some students have pocketed up to $400 - $100 for each AP exam they have passed.

Some North Texans support the program, while others, including parents, are concerned giving money for good test scores sends a bad message and could be a problem.

"What are they spending it on? Are they blowing it? Is it going to something that is not as great a return as continued education?" said Erin Pinkston.

"Once you have that extra cash, that cash can be used for future books," said Israel Ruiz, a former AP student. "That's the biggest thing. Books are pretty expensive in college. Having $200 to put towards your first semester of books would be fantastic."

"If someone has to pay them, but they learn to have a different attitude about school, then maybe they are parenting a little bit differently and that's good for all of us," said Barry Nash.

"If they earn it, they earn it and I guess it's theirs to spend however they want," said Jane Nelson, a parent. "The other part of it is teaching our kids what to do with their money."

The AP Incentive Program also rewards teachers $100 for every student who scores three or more on an AP exam.

The program will continue for another three years.

The Texas Instruments Foundation has given $1.5 million to the DISD to support this program which will now be expanded to include all 32 high schools.

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