What’s It Worth To Study? $8/Hour

Michelle E. Shaw, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 23, 2008

Fulton County school officials have a new program to encourage selected students to study after school: cold, hard cash.

The Fulton school system is instituting “Learn & Earn,” offering 40 students from Creekside High and Bear Creek Middle schools in Fairburn $8 an hour to study after school. The privately funded program will also offer cash bonuses to students who improve in-school performance.

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The 15-week trial run will be conducted with students in the eighth and 11th grades. The students chosen for the program were picked by school staff, based on attendance, grades, test scores and free- or reduced-lunch status. The object, according to the school district, is to determine if paying students to study will improve classroom performance.

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Fulton schools spokesman Kirk Wilks would not release further details of the program Tuesday, saying all questions would be answered Thursday at a news conference. There will be a community kick-off Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Creekside High media center.

The initiative is funded by Charles Loudermilk, chairman and chief executive officer of Aaron Rents, through the Learning Makes A Difference Foundation, a local nonprofit designed to improve education.

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Michael Petrilli, vice president of national and programing policy for the Fordham Foundation, based in D.C., said it seems worthwhile.

He said there is the concern about sending the “wrong message,” but for needy students who must work after school, the concept might be a good option.

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