In the olden days, you went to school simply because you had to. Apparently fear of truancy isn’t enough of a motivator to get kids these days to show up, so one school district in New Jersey had to resort to a different tactic: offering students prizes, like iPads, just to convince them to go to school. Officials in Middle Township launched the incentive program last month after the state cut $1.3 million in funding due to high absenteeism rates.
Toni Johnson, a vice principal for a middle school in the Southern New Jersey district, said she researched the Internet to see what other schools were doing to reverse declining attendance rates, and found that expensive prizes work. Could kids these days be anymore terrible and materialistic?
“Who doesn’t like that carrot hung over them knowing there’s a reward for a job well done? Of course, the idea is to make it more intrinsic long-term. But, so far, it seems to have students rallying with one another in terms of getting them to come,” she told radio station New Jersey 101.5.
To be eligible for the prizes, kids who go to school have their name entered into a raffle which is drawn on Fridays. Other prizes include gift cards to stores on the boardwalk, cookie trays, penny boards, or an iPad. Because winning a cookie tray and a $400 Apple device is the same thing.
Regardless, the scheme is working as absentee numbers are on the decline. Think we could convince the Betabeat bosses to give us iPads just for showing up?