The city's deputy mayor of health and human services Linda Gibbs announced some details of how the cash-incentives-to-the-poor program will work yesterday. Students (whose schools participate in the program and whose families meet the critieria) would get $25/month for at least 95% elementary school attendance and 50%/month at the high school level, $600 for each of the five Regents exams passed, $300 for taking 11 high school credits a year, $50 for getting a library card and $50 for taking the PSAT. Additionally, some families will qualify for $150/month for working 30 hours a week and $600 for every 140 hours of job training.

The Times also notes that the DOE hired Harvard professor Roland Fryer as its "chief equality officer." Fryer has studied racial inequality in public schools and the Daily News excerpted some emails that Fryer (then a consultant to the city) sent principals a few weeks ago explaining incentives to school children: "Every kid gets an incentive just for taking each assessment; $5 for fourth graders and $10 for seventh graders...For each correct answer, students earn an additional reward. All students will earn something, but those that perform better will earn more."

The NY Sun spoke to conservative and "left-leaning" think tanks analysts who questioned the program. And though Darwin Davis, the president of the Urban League, told the Times, "I’m willing to say let’s see what works. We are in a capitalist society and people are motivated by money across race and across class, so why not?”, he wondered aloud "how many tests students would need to pass to buy the latest video game."

The city announced the "conditional cash transfer" program, Opportunity NYC, in March, which is similar to ones in Mexico and Brazil; its goal is to help break the cycle of poverty, and will tap into $53 million of private funds (partially donated by the Rockefeller, Starr, and other foundations and companies as well as Mayor Bloomberg himself). Back then, our readers' reactions were mixed. What do you think of the program now?

Graphic from the city's Center of Economic Opportunity