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Should Kids Be Rewarded with Prizes Just for Going to School?

csessums, flickr

Laying the groundwork for a successful future should be reason enough for children to go to school — but for some districts with poor attendance rates, they’ve had to sweeten the pot.

Kids in Detroit who show up for classes on Oct. 3 — when attendance numbers are used to establish state and federal funding — have been promised free black leather Nikes. And that’s just the beginning.

In Dallas, TX, administrators are handing out $1,500 worth of prepaid debit cards in a random drawing, and all students have to do to be entered is to attend the first day of school on August 27. The DeSoto Independent School District, also in Texas, is doing a random drawing of its own, giving away iPads to some kids who arrive on time for the first five days of classes.

And when the Lone Star state says everything is bigger in Texas, they aren’t kidding. Last year, the nonprofit group Score a Goal gave free cars to eight Dallas-area students with good grades and perfect attendance records. The group also rewards kids with electronics, tickets to sporting events, and more.

“Every year we’ve done this we’ve seen an increase in attendance and in perfect attendance,” said one local high school principal. “Obviously, if a kid is not in school, they’re not going to learn. We try to get them to see the value of coming to school.”


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