Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Tampa High School Paying Students To Take Reading Class

Ohanian Comment:

Our society has become so morally bankrupt that a reading specialist can defend this practice by saying ``Money motivates today.''

What a precedent this sets. Will they also hand out pizzas every time students read x-numbers of passages and answer the questions?

It may be perverse for me to bring this up, but if you are telling young people that they should be remunerated for taking a class, then shouldn't you pay them minimum wage?

I don't think you can have it both ways: Pronounce that taking the class is worth money and then be cheapskates about that money.

All my outrage aside, I have to say that I'm glad someone cares about the fate of these young people. I also happen to think money is the solution. I'd do it in terms of raising the minimum wage so that families could offer more experiences and opportunities to their own childre--instead of doling out monies in programs of leaky moral principle.

TAMPA -- A high school in this city is paying students to take a remedial reading class in preparation for another shot at the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Fifty Leto High School students will receive $150 for spending 36 hours in the three-week class, whether or not they pass the FCAT on Tuesday. About another 20 will be paid without taking the full course.

A school committee agreed to use part of a $56,000 Title I grant, which goes to schools with many students from low-income families, to cover the payments, according to school district officials.

``Our kids work sometimes 30 or 40 hours a week,'' said Michelle Loango, the Leto intervention specialist who developed the idea. ``Their jobs take precedence sometimes over their education. We thought if we pay them $150 for three weeks, that's another paycheck.''

Florida students must pass reading and math portions of the 10th grade FCAT to earn a high school diploma. About 800 Hillsborough County students from the class of 2004 have not passed at least one portion of the test, said Sam Whitten, the county assessment supervisor.

Hundreds of rising seniors and members of the class of 2004 are taking remedial classes at more than a dozen high schools across the county, but only Leto pays for the effort.

``Money motivates today,'' said Kristine Hickman, a reading resource specialist.

But Ramon Casal, 18, who walked with his classmates at their May graduation but cannot receive a diploma until he passes the exam, said money is not his incentive for taking the course.

``I work. I've got money,'' he said. ``I'd come anyway because I want to pass FCAT.''

— Associated Press





This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.