More on cash 4 class

Today’s Oz has an article by Simon Kearney on one of the ideas I suggested last week – paying Indigenous children to attend school. He neatly links it in to the New York debate over paying poor kids to achieve higher grades.

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10 Responses to More on cash 4 class

  1. Kevin Cox says:

    This is similar to the idea of paying people (rewarding) not to consume common resources (eg water). An additional but critical twist that makes the approach very effective is to require that the rewards go towards increasing the common resources. This overcomes the “Tragedy of the Commons” and makes the trade a cooperative one. The concept could be used with “paying children” if the money had to be used to pay for furthering their education.

    See http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/216 to see a good description of collaborative and cooperative trading.

  2. yates88 says:

    what other industry in the world does the supplier pay their customer to consume the product if its faulty or sub-standard? Having worked in many schools with high enrollments of indigenous students, it seems too easy an answer to pay them to turn up. Isn’t there a chance that you will end up with students that are slightly better of financially but who still have a less than adequate education anyway? ie its one thing to get a student to turn up. its another to engage them in learning. The only sustainable answer is to create schools that students WANT to turn up to in environments that their parents are happy to send them or indeed encourage them to turn up to.
    And what about the problems that are likely to occur when the rest of the student body becomes aware that Aboriginal students are being paid to turn up? Most Aboriginal students attend schools where they are by far the minority of students.
    its too simple a solution and does not effectively address the root causes of why the students are not turning up in the first place.

  3. Andrew Leigh says:

    yates88, are you really that confident that it won’t work? I’m open to the possibility that it might fail (eg. for the reasons you suggest, or others mentioned in my 2005 SMH oped). But I’m mildly surprised that you’re so sure it’s going to be a failure that you won’t even countenance a randomised trial.

  4. conrad says:

    “The only sustainable answer is to create schools that students WANT to turn up to”

    I never wanted to turn up to school, but luckily my parents forced me (like many kids at my school). I would have preferred to have sat at home playing computer games, smoking dope etc. Given this, I’m not sure to what extent kids wanting to turn up to school is really an important factor. Some things in life are not fun, but we need to do them anyway, and it isn’t neccesarily the schools fault if they are not fun, and nor is it neccesarily the best strategy. You should check out schools in some parts of East Asia. These are even less fun than Australian ones, but children from those schools are the highest achieving in the world (including ones from expat schools that are equally as tough).

  5. Used your op-ed on this last year as a discussion starter in tutorials, received some interest from my students.

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  7. William says:

    It’s intriguing you (and following you, the media) link this to programs in New York rather than, say, Progresa in Mexico or its copies in much of the rest of the world. If the Americans do it, it must be good.

    I understand there’s a difference (cash to the kid versus to the family), but wouldn’t the solid evidence in favour of large effects in Mexico be at least as relevant as the speculative evidence in small-scale inner-city programmes in the US?

  8. I’ve thought for a long time that one simple big idea that would contribute to Aboriginal wellbeing would be to locate one AFL team to Darwin.

    It is easy enough to do and would probably be popular. I reckon in time it would end up being a 80% aboriginal team and the flow on/trickle down/ effects to small communities would be enormous.

    Theres plenty of money sloshing around in AFL and I’m assuming like other sports there are large amounts of public money flowing if not in straight subsidies then certainly in infrastructure and facilities right down to footy grounds at schools and local government provision of grounds , buildings, night lights etc.

    I have no interest in watching or playing AFL football and have never followed it at all.

  9. Andrew Leigh says:

    William, Progresa is also interesting, and I agree, the evidence is stronger than from Roland Fryer’s pilot. But the NY scheme is cash for kids, so similar in that regard. And the political outcry in the NYT somewhat mirrors the handful of responses to my proposal.

  10. yates88 says:

    andrew, its not that i’m 100% sure that it won’t work, its just tht I think the money may do more for ‘attendance’ than it does for ‘education’. Just because a child is turning up, doesn’t mean they are learning. I feel that paying the kids to turn up is a cop out, and that the limited energy availabale for Aboriginal Education should be directed toward ‘fixing’ the schools themselves. that means a relevant curriculum, good teachers who are well paid, and plenty of co-curricular activities be they cultural or other in focus that give kids the desire to keep coming back. this sort of schooling is available in most parts pf the country, there is no excuse for not making it availabale to all Australian citizens. Not to mention the message that it sends these children…. ie money should not be the only reason that you committ yourself to something.

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