TDSB mulls paying needy children to improve grades
TORONTO - One of Canada's largest school boards is tweeting about paying poor students for getting good grades, and the Ontario government isn't opposing the idea.
The Toronto District School Board is reaching out on Twitter to start a discussion on whether needy kids should be paid to attend school, get good grades and spend time mentoring others.
"Should we pay kids in our more disadvantaged communities to do well in school?" Chris Spence, the board's director of education, tweeted earlier this week.
"Perhaps, as part of a poverty reduction scheme?"
The concept is one of several options that the board's new anti-poverty task force is expected to examine.
But Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky is steering clear of the debate and repeatedly refused Wednesday to say what she thought about the proposal.
It's up to the board to make a decision about whether it wants to pay kids for good grades, she said.
"What I am looking forward to is the debate that will ensue when this proposal is brought forward," said Dombrowsky, a former Catholic school trustee.
"I expect that parents are going to have a lot to say about whether or not this is appropriate, and I expect the trustees that have been elected locally here in Toronto are going to pay very close attention to what the parents are saying."
Opposition Leader Tim Hudak says it's a bad idea and the minister should urge the school board to rethink it.
"I think good marks, being successful in school is it's own reward, which opens up more job opportunities down the road," he said.
Resources should be devoted to classroom education, Hudak added.
"Let's test our kids, put grades on report cards so we know how they're doing, and then give some extra help to the kids who are falling behind," he said.
Some schools in the United States have experimented with the idea, with mixed results.