Wednesday, June 20, 2007

JUNE 20, 2007

Is it just me, or have you noticed our city has been BOMBARDED with flies this summer? It seems you can't open your door without one flying in your house. Have you noticed it? What are you doing about it? Vote on the daily poll, and email us here to tell us what your solution is.

New York City students could earn as much as $500 a year for doing well on standardized tests and showing up for class in a new program to begin this fall, city officials announced yesterday. And not only that, parents could be rewarded too, just for being... parents.

Now, none of the money is from tax-payers, it's all privately raised. But educators have been skeptical, saying students have to love learning for its own sake, not for cash prizes.

Cash incentives for adults will include $150 a month for keeping a full-time job and $50 a month for having health insurance. Families will also receive as much as $50 per month per child for high attendance rates in school, as well as $25 for attending parent-teacher conferences.
The city has already raised much of the $53 million it needs for the program.

Under the plan, fourth-grade students will receive up to $25 for a perfect score on each of 10 standardized tests throughout the year. Seventh-grade students will be able to earn twice as much — $50 per test, for a total of up to $500. Fourth graders will receive $5 just for taking the test, and seventh graders will get $10.

Officials expect up to 40 schools to participate this fall, with a total of 9,000 students, in the pilot phase of the program.

Similar, smaller programs for cash incentives to raise schoolchildren’s performance have been put in place elsewhere in the country. In Chelsea, Mass., for instance, students can receive $25 for perfect attendance. And in Dallas, some schools hand over $2 for every book a child reads.

Proponents of the plan cautioned that the amounts of money being offered were relatively paltry in New York. “I wish $50 could be enough for an insurance payment, but that’s not going to be the case,” one organizer said, wondering aloud how many tests students would need to pass to buy the latest video game. He also cautioned against giving too much credence to the notion that money would prod students.

Okay, here's my thinking... why should you have to PAY kids to read books, or PAY parents to go to Parent-Teacher conferences? Shouldn't they just be doing it? That's flat out bad parenting. I know I didn't have a choice... I went to school because that's what I was supposed to do. Why not use the money to buy new books for the students who actually care, or pay teachers more for the great job that they do. This topic fires me up... We'll keep you posted.

The Keep Kern County Cool Fan Drive is a KGET-TV 17 and Telemundo 11 KKEY event to benefit the Volunteer Center of Kern County. We will be collecting new and used fans from 5 AM-7 PM today in the parking lot on L Street across from the TV studios. Fans will be distributed at a later date through the Volunteer Center and people needing a fan should call 395-9787 to apply. We will not be giving out fans on drive day.

The fan collection is an effort to help alleviate the financial burden of high summer energy bills for seniors, disabled, veterans and low income families throughout Kern County. As you know many folks on fixed incomes will avoid running their air and that can often lead to tragic consequences. This is a way for our viewers and caring community to get involved and help provide some cool relief for our less fortunate neighbors.