Despite the fact that New York spends nearly $13,000 per public school student per year, the highest in the nation along with Jersey, those same students are consistently ranking in the bottom five for all fifty states. "In New York, it seems, the money isn't making its way to the teachers. In the last decade, teachers in the state saw average salary decrease 5 percent when adjusted for inflation, according to the National Education Association."
Why do we stack up so low? Well for starters the longer kids are ignored in the system, the less they care about leaving it. We've got an embarrassingly low high-school graduation rate (that'd be 59 percent) that is well below the national average (that'd be 68.7 percent). For another thing there simply aren't enough incentives for students to perform better. But at least some new incentives are starting to appear, and in curious places too. For instance:
Krispy Kreme has begun offering a free doughnut to students for every A they earn. Crown Theaters hands out two free tickets for straight A's and a medium popcorn for all B's. Sbarro joined the corporate crowd by offering a pizza slice if students said the phrase, "A's and B's - pizza please!"
We kind of like the idea of local businesses rewarding students for good achievements (though does that Sbarro offer actually require the grades or just the phrase?). And if we were one of the companies running one of those campaigns we'd be screaming about it to the high heavens. Who wouldn't be very happy to give their money to businesses that value smart kids over ones that are indifferent? But really that's not quite enough. What the DoE really needs to do is cut down on the bureaucracy and reward hard working teachers and schools in tight situations with the money they deserve. We hear from too many teaching friends about sketchy Principals skewing their finances away from the places the money is most needed. And as for the proposal in the above photograph... an interesting idea but we're not sure it be legal.