Linda & Richard Eyre: Should kids be paid for good grades?

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  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    July 2, 2012 11:05 a.m.

    I don't believe in paying for grades. I am glad my parents didn't pay for my As. I had many friends who were paid, but my self-esteem grew with each "A" I earned because there is just something about doing the best you can that is what life should be about. I did go on and receive a graduate degree, and life is financially rewarding due to that degree. But it is the difficulty of the work that I do and knowing that I do it well that "feeds" me; not the paycheck that I earn.

  • AmPatriot Taylorsville, UT
    July 2, 2012 3:53 a.m.

    I have to feel sorry for parents who think they are responsible and accountable to provide higher eduction and financial incentives for their children to be good honest working citizens of their community. I do not beleive in any kind of monetary reward system for any reason work related or personal. People or children expecting rewards for their achievements and getting a good job and keeping a good job are the seeds of greed that serve no good purpose or achievable reward. Training children to be greedy is what everyone here has talked about so far and we don't have a clue why greed and corruption has become our way of life. Overbearing parents are more of a problem in society than poverty which is a good teacher.

    A childs reward is their personal achievement, paying them to go to primary school or college is a waste of time and money and they will never amount to anything. At the first sign of social dysfunction they are dead beats back home living in their old rooms off of your pensions expecting some more reward money.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    July 1, 2012 9:15 p.m.

    My son just finished 8th grade with a 4.0 every quarter. Working hard academically is important to him, and he feels the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from that. When school ended, he had his eye on a sleeping bag for scout campouts, but lacked the funds. I told him I would purchase it for him because I was so impressed with how much effort he had put forth that school year. I believe he saw this as a bonus, rather than as an expected reward. Whether you're an adult or a kid, it's nice to be rewarded occasionally for a job well done.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    July 1, 2012 5:07 p.m.

    I really enjoyed reading the different strategies that parents use to motivate their children.
    Even Sally's friend was being motivated,despite the authors'dissagrement.

    Families and people are different, it is wonderful to see the concern and appreciation for education on the part of parents.

  • Trooper55 Williams, AZ
    July 1, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    I don't beleive in paying a child for getting good grades. It shows the child that money is too important and if you study hard you get a bigger reward when you go to college. My son from my second marriage got full tution and all cost covered. What I did for my son was when he graduate from high school I gave him a 2 year old pickup truck so he would be able to go on to college and when he went to law school it was all expense paid, but the books and housing which I took care of, and it wasn't for getting good grades, it was for helping him and my daughter in law out and today he holds the bar for Washington, D.C. and South Carolinia that was his reward for working so hard to get were he is today.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 1, 2012 12:28 p.m.


    That comment was an advertisement. I am glad that $ rewards worked for you. In most cases I think it is a bad idea. Loosely connecting a reward to doing well in school seems to be less detrimental. E.g. "you worked hard in school this year and got good marks. That must feel pretty good. Because you did such a nice job, I think we can help you get that iPod (or whatever) you would really like. If you contrIbute "x" dollars, we'll pay the rest.

    This leaves the reward of personal satisfaction of a job well done as the primary reward, but shows that you appreciate their efforts and want to support them.

    July 1, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    When my children were young and personal computers were new, I wrote program called GRADE$, which rewarded them for their work. It was easy for them to use on their own and so every Saturday morning when the latest He-Man, My Little Pony, GI Joe, Barbi, etc was advertised, my kids would asked me for it. I would tell them they would have to see what grades they would need to get it and off they would race to the computer. GRADE$ evolved over the years. What I called "Core" classes (Math, Science, Languages) were worth more. The concept of GPA was introduced. Straight As were rewarded, etc. All of my children received scholarships and so from personal experience, I think the idea of rewarding the kids for their efforts has merit. My sons apparently liked the concept, as well. They have developed it into an app for the iPad/iPhone. Their version is far more robust than my modest efforts. Like my original program, their app is also called GRADE$. It seems to be working for their family as well.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 1, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    A Pavlov's dog approach to parenting won't work. These parenting philosophies are dangerous carryovers from the 50's, 60's and 70's that do more harm than good.

    We have five 4.0 students in the family, from grade school to college, and have never paid for a grade. Instead of paying for grades, set high expectations, create an environment where they can do well (quiet study space, help them learn to plan and manage their time, allow them to prioritize, teach them they can do difficult things by setting the example and not letting them off the hook, provide positive encouragement and feedback, etc), and certainly never make excuses for them to teachers and others when they make mistakes. Finally, don't focus on grades. It is MUCH more important that they learn to work hard and be disciplined, than if they get an "A".

    When you pay for grades, grades instead of learning become the focus and money or material things the reward. The reward should be personal satisfaction. The material and monetary rewards are natural consequences of hard work and value creation that will follow those good people who do things well.

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    June 29, 2012 10:52 p.m.

    We have always paid $2 for an A and rounded it up to $20 for a 4.0. It is not a huge incentive, but it is a nice recognition for a job well done. Our four kids have earned 3.7+ gpa. If I had a child that had to work hard for a B average I would find a way to reward that positive effort.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 29, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    The guy up there who based paying college tuition based on grades made the most sense to me.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    June 27, 2012 3:32 p.m.

    The problem is that the kids that will benefit the most from being paid for grades come from families that cannot afford to pay them. Our education system funding needs to be revised to spend less money on various kind of nonsense, and more money to encourage kids to get good grades directly. Set the standards high enough so that it does not break the bank while giving kids an immediate reason to study hard. It should work like this - there is a test that is the same for everybody everywhere that IS NOT MADE BY THE SCHOOL THAT TEACHES YOU, like an AP test. You get paid in proportion to what you get. It is your job to learn the material. You can go to a public school teacher, you can go to your friend, you can hire a tutor, or you can learn online, just come prepared and ready to roll. This will teach that real knowledge pays, while negotiating your grade with a teacher does not.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    June 27, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    My parents paid for grades, but not consistently. My older brothers got $5 for each A they brought home, but somehow by the time I got to middle and high school that system was no longer utilized. But I never felt like I should be paid for my grades. I always felt like the high grade itself was my goal, and I always felt good about myself seeing the report card. I probably did get paid a few times early on, but it was never a standing thing (which is probably good because I wasn't always the best student.) I will say that part of my motivation to keep my grades up was to help keep my car insurance down through the Good Student discount...

    I'm probably not on the side of paying for grades. I think kids today need to understand that their education is more valuable than the money they'll receive for it. However, I DO think parents need to acknowledge their kids' academic successes and always encourage them.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    June 27, 2012 6:01 a.m.

    I think the key is understanding what motivates your children, and finding a way to help them see the benefits of academic achievement so that they're motivated to do better. Money may work with one child, but another may be entirely demotivated by money.

    I have a daughter that has a very rich imagination, is very intelligent, and who hates the very idea of money, shopping or any sort of financial compensation... which I admit sounds weird, but she's also a very good student on her own. Offering her money for grades would only insult her, and I suspect she'd purposefully tank just to send me a message. ;)

    Of course I have another daughter who does pretty much anything for material rewards. She would probably benefit a lot from the suggestions put forth in this article, because she wants to spend now, be with her friends, and sees no longterm benefits to boring things like homework and study.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    June 27, 2012 3:30 a.m.

    Using BOTH the long-term and short-term incentives seems to be the best way to go. You can explain the lifelong income potential for those with college and professional degrees as the long-run motivation AND use a modest pay scale for good grades as a short-term motivation. There is nothing inconsistent with using both a long-term and a short-term motivation system. Both prepare kids for the real world ahead of them.

  • BalancedFulfilledLife MISSOURI CITY, TX
    June 26, 2012 1:29 p.m.

    Very thought provoking article, thanks! I appreciate the idea of pointing kids to the long term consequences of todays actions. One thought I have is, whether we decide to pay our kids for grades or not, somehow I think we ought to find a way to celebrate the effort of doing daily homework much more than the actual grade/outcome. I would be far happier with a child that tried hard and got a mediocre grade than a child who sailed through a class with little effort.

  • Kitenoa Salt Lake City, UT
    June 26, 2012 11:38 a.m.

    It is the message that comes with the money that is important here. Does the reward show appreciation for a job well done, or is it just a pay off so parents don't feel guilty for not being there for their student? Furthermore, can this be another teaching moment for the child to budget appropriately a $100 reward, for their own future schooling needs?

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    June 26, 2012 10:57 a.m.

    It is not that hard to get straight A's, just take easy classes.
    I give my kids $500 for a 3 on the AP test, $1000 for a 4, $1500 for a 5.
    they do not always have a 4.0 but they learn alot and get college credit

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    June 25, 2012 9:26 p.m.

    To each his own. My kids have all gotten at least 3.8 or higher all through highschool and we've never paid them a dime for any grades. The reward for them is a job well done.

  • JP71 Ogden, UT
    June 25, 2012 10:58 a.m.

    I one hundred percent believe in paying for grades. For me this is training your child for the real world. If they work hard they will be rewarded for it, and in the real world most of the time this means more money. If they don’t they will get nothing. $100 is excessive. I pay about $5 for an A. I have seen my child really try to get an A so he can get the reward. The “love of learning” will come later.

  • SoCal Andy Thousand Oaks, CA
    June 25, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    We have adopted a 'mommy scholarship' plan for our kids HS and university grades. For a 4.0 GPA in HS we pay 100% of the tuition, room & board (not covered by other scholarships, grants or awards) for the first semester at university. A 3.9 earns 90%, 3.8 80% down to a 3.1 which earns 10%.

    After each semester in college we apply the same criteria to the last semesters grades for the next semester. That has worked fabulously for us.

  • fish8 Vernal, UT
    June 25, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    I think the amount paid can make a big difference. A few dollers for an A is one thing a hundred is a huge amount. A bonus at work for doing above average is a welcome surprise, a little something for trying hard is a nice reward. My kids (grade schoole 15 years ago) got a doller for an A with a $5 bonus for straight A's. This was also offset for any minus marks in citizenship.

  • TX texas, TX
    June 24, 2012 9:54 p.m.

    I have wondered a lot about this and I am generally against paying for grades, but on the other hand thats what scholarships are largely about. So I can't make a general statement that all money for grades is inherently bad.