From The Root:
In 2008, seven states adopted a new plan to attract low-income and minority students to college-prep courses, the gist of which was simple: pay kids $100 for every advanced placement exam they pass. The states latched on to the idea after a similar program in Texas produced a 30 percent rise in the number of students with high SAT scores. The proof is there—money talks.
With that in mind, what’s wrong with telling a 16-year-old boy, “You wanna meet exotic women? Go to school, work hard, get an international business degree and go start a company in Paris.” What’s wrong with saying to a kid who wants to be an iced-out rapper that the real money in music doesn’t go to the performers, but to the record executives? “So instead of wasting time on a rap career that odds say will never materialize,” you can tell him, “Why not go to college, study music and business, graduate and then work your way up at a label? And, if that’s not glamorous enough, start a label!”
Knowing what we know about how deeply many of America’s inner-city children value “cool,” it’s foolish to insist on trying to appeal to them with traditional, impractical platitudes about education. It shows a disconnect with reality and, almost certainly, it’s a disconnect that exists because these marketing gimmicks are dreamed up by learned people who have come to know the inherent value of their brain.
Is it tacky to attract kids to education with material wealth? Absolutely. In fact, it’s practically the antithesis of much of what proper schooling should impart. But wouldn’t you rather have another tacky plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills than another dead black kid in Compton?
Is this idea brilliant or does it make you want to cry your eyes out? I’m fine with paying kids for grades to a certain extent as my father paid me for my As on my report card. But the story also uses this quote to make a point: “Money, [prostitutes] and clothes—all a brother knows,” to explain why teenage boys would rather look cool than crack open a book and that engaging in conversations like “going to college will get you laid more” are valid if it means a boy will go to school. Why does this make me want to cry my eyes out? Um … the sexism? The motivating factor being money and sex with women, not self-improvement, self-empowerment, a desire for knowledge, but the pursuit of “hoes.” Does anyone think what a message that further encourages the denigration of women will do to the poor women who have to deal with these fools? But maybe I’m crazy. Am I crazy?