Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Wish They Would Give Me a Car Just for Showing Up

The Tennessean editorializes favorably today toward a program by which local car dealerships have a drawing and give away automobiles to high school students with perfect attendance. While The Oracle has no problem with the program in principle, he doubts that it will have much positive effect. A certain amount of missed school is unavoidable due to sickness or other legitimate reasons for beingn absent. Beyond that, the potential gratification is too delayed and remote to change the behavior of most teenagers.

In addition, the editorial stretches credulity by implying that such incentives will have a positive impact on low graduation rates. Promoting perfect attendance will help some students do marginally better than they might otherwise; however, it is unrealistic to believe that doing so will keep students in school who are inclined to drop out or who are unable to meet minimal graduation requirements.

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