It shouldn’t come as a surprise that school districts are using everything from cash to raffles as attendance incentives for kids.
Society markets everything from clothing to junk food to kids. Why not school?
The Raytown School District on Tuesday held a back-to-school rally, during which Superintendent Allan Markley announced that Raytown High School would be giving away a new car to a student who finished the year, maintaining an average attendance of 95 percent or better. It’s impossible to learn unless students are in school. And what better way to ensure learning than perfect attendance or something close to it?
Elementary and middle school attendance stays in the high 90s percent range, school officials said. But making it to class falls off for high school students.
Starting in September, juniors and seniors at Raytown High School who qualify with an average attendance of 95 percent or above will have their name added to the raffle for a chance to win a blue 2016 Ford Focus on May 12. Raytown South High School students will have a chance to win a red 2016 Ford Focus.
Markley told The Star that a student potentially could have his or her name in the raffle hat seven times. But if a students’ attendance average drops below 95 percent at the end of the contest, the student is out of the raffle.
Daily attendance is part of the per-pupil revenue the district gets from the state. If Raytown were to improve attendance by just 0.2 percent, the added revenue would cover the $20,000 cost of the cars, which the district paid Dick Smith Ford for. Raising attendance 1 percent would bring in $100,000 in state dollars.
Kansas City Public Schools has provided gift cards as incentives for students who maintained a C average or better with perfect attendance in summer school.
Such giveaways and the raffle certainly sound odd to strict, old-school types, who believe that going to class every day for a quality education should be its own reward. The big pay-off for perfect attendance and doing well in school is the privilege of going to a good college to get a degree.
Companies interested in the accumulation of intellectual capital that students have obtained through their education then will provide the financial capital, or money in the form of a salary, that pays students for their knowledge.
Sure the young adults will have to pay taxes on their earnings, but they certainly will be able to afford it.
However, the taxes, licensing fees, insurance and maintenance costs the raffle winners will have to immediate pay for the privilege of driving the cars may be bigger than the students and their families can afford.