City pays students $100 each to not skip school

posted at 2:45 pm on August 24, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Wish my high school would have done this … I would have been rich. The city of Camden, NJ, recently implemented a program to pay students to not skip school. NBC Philadelphia reports:

The city of Camden will be paying almost 70 high school students $100 each to go to school in the first three weeks of the year.

Funded by a grant that must be used by Sept. 30, the city is trying to fight truancy with a new program called I Can End Truancy (ICE-T), reports the Inquirer.

To receive the promised $100, each of the 66 targeted students must attend classes as well as conflict-resolution and anger-management workshops until Sept. 30.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, to find kids to fill the program, the city contacted school district officials and then aggressively called parents to inform them about the program. About 25 percent of the students in the program are chronically truant students, while the rest are borderline truants or among those who “attend school but need help.”

The students will receive the cash three weeks into the school year simply because the city has to spend the grant money by Sept. 30 or risk not receiving the grant next year. (The grant comes from the state Department of Criminal Justice.) That means the city has no real leverage after Sept. 30 to ensure the high schoolers in the program actually attend class — other than a pledge the students will fill out upon completion of the program.

Amazingly, some students might receive the money even if they’re absent occasionally during the first three weeks of school. Absences will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, Wren Ingram, the director of the program, said. “Every story is different,” Ingram said, adding that many of Camden’s youths face “extraordinary things” — lack of proper nourishment at home, for example.

Nothing in the Inquirer article confirms the program isn’t open to model students — but it does imply the city targeted truant children. That means this is yet another example of government intervention that will likely yield unintended consequences. Far from incentivizing ideal behavior, this program actually incentivizes misbehavior. Why attend school when skipping means you might be targeted for a program in which you’ll score $100 simply for doing what you would have done in the first place?

At least it’s a local program, I suppose. But locals aren’t happy about it. In fact, according to NBC Philadelphia, 100 percent of respondents (doesn’t say how many respondents) said this story makes them feel “furious” (other options were “sad,” “thrilled,” “happy,” “bored” and “intrigued”).

It also illustrates the lengths to which local governments will go to retain state funding and to meet state mandates (the state demands schools achieve 90 percent attendance rates). Presumably that lesson can be extrapolated — states, too, contort themselves into uncomfortable positions to ensure they receive federal dollars and to meet federal requirements.

But, above all, it underscores a point that can’t be hammered home enough: So many of our societal ills start at home, up to and including the debt and deficit. The government wastes taxpayer dollars time and again as it tries to approximate the edifying and stabilizing influence of family life. The question shouldn’t be, “How do we end truancy?” or “How do we fight childhood obesity?” or “How do we help kids avoid self-destructive behaviors like drug use or promiscuity?” The question should be, “How do we shore up our families?” And even that — increased support for the family — can’t come from the government. It will have to come from our culture, from neighbor to neighbor, from personal accountability to others. We can start with the obvious — by, for example, not rewarding the wrong.

Update: This story originally stated Camden was in Pennsylvania when, in fact, it’s in New Jersey. The post has been corrected above.


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How much dope can you buy with a hundred dollars? A lot or not much?

a capella on August 24, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Sorry, Tina. Punishing bad behavior is an antiquated notion that we in the Heatland cling to, along with our guns and Bibles.///

P.S. Liberals are idiots.

kingsjester on August 24, 2011 at 2:49 PM

I cannot believe the teachers’ union will stand for this. It’s pretty much an open secret in the profession that the teachers count on only a percentage of students attending each day…

cynccook on August 24, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Another dumb-a$$ waste of money. Three weeks of school and they get the money. Why not finish the school with perfect attendance, achieve a B or better average and not get into any trouble, then collect the $. If you’re going to just give it away make ‘em earn it.

rjoco1 on August 24, 2011 at 2:50 PM

These truant students’ drug dealers support this measure.

Good Lt on August 24, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Typical liberal response to a problem: Throw money at it.

And if that doesn’t work, blame Republicans or the Tea Party.

Socratease on August 24, 2011 at 2:52 PM

When you have to do that, you’ve already failed. Might as well save money for the entire K-12 education, and give each numbnut “student” in that district $1,300 for a plane ticket out of your district.

Apologetic California on August 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM

But it’s SO HARD to find things in the budget to cut…

PatriotRider on August 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I really can’t stomach liberals…

PatriotRider on August 24, 2011 at 2:54 PM

If they are going to do something so stupid, why not just pay the parents – you know, the ones paying taxes?

MeatHeadinCA on August 24, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I think that is Camden NJ not Pennsylvania.

msmveritas on August 24, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Can I get this retroactively?

Surely there must be some agency to assist me in collecting “what I deserve”.

reaganaut on August 24, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Let me get this straight…

Teachers are handing out free government $$$ ?

faraway on August 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM

And, come October 3rd. He gone…

Fallon on August 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM

The city’s not paying a damned penny, the taxpayers of that city however…

Oldnuke on August 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Jf the teachers were any good, I would consider this a bad idea. Much better to let said teachers concentrate on teaching those who want to learn. The others will be useless anyway.

OldEnglish on August 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM

and then one of these $100 losers will be given a preference over an A sutdent…

PatriotRider on August 24, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Government is not the Solution: it is the Problem!

gullxn on August 24, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I’ll have to research this, but I’ve got a feeling that there is some federal funding attached to the number of butts in chairs on 30 Sept.

Why not pay them $500 to attend the entire year? Why does it stop on 30 Sept?

BobMbx on August 24, 2011 at 2:58 PM

OldEnglish on August 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Who’s been mucking around with my keyboard!?

Jf should be If.

OldEnglish on August 24, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Besides the expiration of the grants, keep in mind that the federal government subsidizes schools based on the number of students that are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch programs, those numbers are probably based on early enrollment counts.

Cindy Munford on August 24, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Thats Camden, NEW JERSEY.

birdhurd on August 24, 2011 at 3:02 PM

That is not sustainable. Most kids aren’t stupid. Once they figure out they can scam money from the adults, $100 will turn into $200 and then $500 and so on. Before long, the students will be making more money than the teachers…and I’m sure the union will want to unionize them.

ramrants on August 24, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Screw that … just tell them that if they don’t attend they’ll be barred from receiving any government handouts for life.

darwin on August 24, 2011 at 3:03 PM

What a ludicrous waste of money.

AZCoyote on August 24, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I look forward to the $100 per person for not mugging an old lady as well as the $100 per person who doesn’t hold up a liquor store by Sept. 30th program.

DrAllecon on August 24, 2011 at 3:04 PM

birdhurd on August 24, 2011 at 3:02 PM

I believe you are right but they sure made it hard to figure out. Email tips@hotair.com and let Tina know.

Cindy Munford on August 24, 2011 at 3:05 PM

We can start with the obvious — by, for example, not rewarding the wrong.
But, the liberals say, who among us is entitled to decide what is “wrong”?

GaltBlvnAtty on August 24, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Chris Christie is to blame.

faraway on August 24, 2011 at 3:11 PM

So… take the worst kids in school and give them $100.00

Nothing could possibly go wrong.

WitchDoctor on August 24, 2011 at 3:11 PM

The city of Camden, Penn., recently implemented a program to pay students to not skip school.

Camden is in New Jersey, not Pennsylvania

Kini on August 24, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Absences will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, Wren Ingram, the director of the program, said. “Every story is different,”

In other words, it depends on who they or their parents are voting for.

I’m sick of the term “unintended consequences”. There is no such thing! I have begun believing that every screw up these idiots pull were predictable and therefore they are not unintended at all.

jeffn21 on August 24, 2011 at 3:12 PM

If they are going to do something so stupid, why not just pay the parents – you know, the ones paying taxes?

MeatHeadinCA

Won’t doing any good. Their parents have no control over these kids, thanks to what teachers and leftoids have taught these brats.

honsy on August 24, 2011 at 3:12 PM

How much would they pay if kids got an education and actually learned something?

Kini on August 24, 2011 at 3:14 PM

It has to do with the term “enrollment”. For the school year, the number of kids “enrolled” is determined in late Sept or early Oct. The number of enrolled students is then fixed, and the federal aid package is determined based on the “enrollment”. It doesn’t matter how many kids are enrolled at the end of October. Nobody cares about that.

So it is a “butts in chairs” game to get kids in school. Its all about money, not about teaching.

BobMbx on August 24, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Another reinforcement for the entitlement mentality. The “State” is now paying kids to go to school. Not ALL kids of course, only the kids that dont realize or appreciate the importance of an education. Already provided free to them through our taxpaying dollars. Chronically truant kids, I can surmise, dont have the parental guidance and home life already in place to keep them in school to begin with, so hell ya, lets throw $100 in their pocket. As has already been said…..What could go wrong?

Koa on August 24, 2011 at 3:16 PM

The students will receive the cash three weeks into the school year simply because the city has to spend the grant money by Sept. 30 or risk not receiving the grant next year.

So someone simply thought up a way ‘to spend money’ so that they could get money next year.

Here’s a thought, if junior doesn’t want to go to school, kick his ass out. And it sounds like those qualifying for this money are probably disrupting those who do want to go to school. Looks like a win-win all around.

Besides, just think of those losers as future car washers.

GarandFan on August 24, 2011 at 3:17 PM

To go to school for the first three weeks? They are trying to boost their body count, and their Title I funding, by paying kids to be there on the day they do the count.

It isn’t about the children.

secant on August 24, 2011 at 3:19 PM

money solves all problems

shick on August 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM

If I can get paid for not skipping school, can I also get paid for not farming, and for not polluting? Can you stack all the things that government pays you not to do? That could be a nice career.

RBMN on August 24, 2011 at 3:21 PM

money solves all problems

shick on August 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM

CORRECTION: Other people’s money solves all problems.

shick on August 24, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Go to school for 3 weeks, get paid a hundred bucks, then skip school the rest of the year. Beautiful.

How much dope can you buy with a hundred dollars? A lot or not much?

a capella on August 24, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Depends on the dope I guess, but you can get a cheap hair weave or a few trips to get your nails done.

mizflame98 on August 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM

insane

WisCon on August 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM

New CafePress shirt reads: I attended an acceptable number of days in Public School and all I got was $100.

shick on August 24, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Who could predict that a whole lot of former perfect attendees are gonna be truant that first month?

Who’d o’ thought ditching school would pay so well? Perhaps that first day will have no students there at all?

What MORON thought this up?

marybel on August 24, 2011 at 3:26 PM

And private schools, home schooling and tutuorials will continue to produce well educated graduates despite the state taxing those who don’t send their kids to public schools.

shick on August 24, 2011 at 3:28 PM

BTW, Tina, Camden is in NJ, not Pennsylvania.

Good Lt on August 24, 2011 at 3:29 PM

My dad would have just looked at me.

He was way smarter than these nitwits.

Schadenfreude on August 24, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Man, that “Grant” guy is rich. He’s always paying for stuff that people need done. We should ask him to pay off our National Debt.

gregbert on August 24, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Man, that “Grant” guy is rich. He’s always paying for stuff that people need done. We should ask him to pay off our National Debt.

gregbert on August 24, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Of course he’s rich. He makes tons of money on Mythbusters.

mizflame98 on August 24, 2011 at 3:35 PM

And yet some absences are acceptable. This sounds like where I teach. We have a pile of tough “rules” that apply only if there aren’t some extenuating circumstance. And by extenuating circumstance I mean one parent calls in to say the absence/drug use/sexual activity is ok by them, so we just swallow it regardless of the disruption. No rules at home, so spine at school. And we wonder why kids turn out they way they do. By the end of the year the decent kids walk away feeling like suckers for following the rules.

teacherman on August 24, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Should be NO spine at school.

teacherman on August 24, 2011 at 3:36 PM

I cannot believe the teachers’ union will stand for this. It’s pretty much an open secret in the profession that the teachers count on only a percentage of students attending each day…
cynccook on August 24, 2011 at 2:50 PM

It’s only three weeks, and the payoff will be more than worth it.

Those kids may not know very much, but with this kind of incentive it won’t take long at all for them to figure out the easiest way ever invented to make money: become one of the worst truant students, so the school will pay you to come back.

Three weeks with a handful of extra students — and then a semester of blessedly empty classrooms!

logis on August 24, 2011 at 3:38 PM

So now these formally truant students will be in school disrupting the good kids who are there trying to learn?

Sucks to be responsible in Obamaworld

Ditkaca on August 24, 2011 at 3:42 PM

That means the city has no real leverage after Sept. 30 to ensure the high schoolers in the program actually attend class — other than a pledge the students will fill out upon completion of the program.

So school being manditory wasn’t enough to get them to go to class, but them giving a pledge will? Brilliant!

They could have used the money more efficiently by piling it up and burning it during the winter session for heat.

DrAllecon on August 24, 2011 at 3:43 PM

“If a student is not going to school in the ninth grade, you better change something in your school,” Delgado said…

Wrong!!! The problem probably isn’t the school, its what’s happening at home. The school can’t fix that problem.

Egads. Its like the people who think “fixing” school lunches will solve childhood obesity. The kids aren’t obese because of what they eat at school, they’re obese because of what they eat outside school. Other than teach basic nutrition, there’s nothing else the schools can or should do.

taznar on August 24, 2011 at 3:43 PM

The question should be, “How do we shore up our families?” And even that — increased support for the family — can’t come from the government.

Well, the government could refrain from doing things that tear them down.

Count to 10 on August 24, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Hey dudes, let’s all skip school for a month, come back on September 30 and make $100 !!! Hey, dudes, where d’ya wanna party on October 1?

/dropout off

Steve Z on August 24, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Why not fine the parents of the truant students $100 instead?

slickwillie2001 on August 24, 2011 at 3:54 PM

This is BS. The kids should strike and demand a livable payout.

rickyricardo on August 24, 2011 at 3:57 PM

This is more than likely a business decision by the school system because they get paid by the government per student WHO IS IN ATTENDANCE and after putting pencil and paper together they figured $100 bucks is an expense they can afford when deducted from their “INCOME” from the taxpayers.

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on August 24, 2011 at 3:58 PM

The question should be, “How do we shore up our families?”

Ummm, I’m gonna say “Leave them the hell alone”?

Get the government the hell out of everyones homes.

Tim Zank on August 24, 2011 at 4:01 PM

City pays students $100 each to not skip school

I think the government should pay me $1000 for “not taking an appropriate-but-probably-illegal revenge” on the dolts who thought up this scheme.

…and I want an extra $100 for “not speeding” to town to do this.

and that’s just for starters

landlines on August 24, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Uhh, yeah. But it’s Camden, NJ….you know, right across the river from Penn.

bloghooligan on August 24, 2011 at 4:06 PM

The students will receive the cash three weeks into the school year simply because the city has to spend the grant money by Sept. 30 or risk not receiving the grant next year.

Note that the main reason they’re doing it is because they want to ensure next years automatic funding of the same program. This is just one of millions of tax dollars being flushed down a toilet all across the nation, and people still think there is nothing that can be “cut” from government budgets??

Seriously folks, can we survive much longer being this stupid??

Tim Zank on August 24, 2011 at 4:06 PM

What a bunch of spaghetti-spines. Spend that $100 on truant officers instead and teach the little snots a valuable life lesson: show up where you’re supposed to be or someone else will MAKE you.

Why not fine the parents of the truant students $100 instead?

slickwillie2001 on August 24, 2011 at 3:54 PM

This. For every day Johnny or Jane doesn’t bother to get to class. When their truancy makes daddy miss a car payment or mom’s grocery bill go short, you’ll see such an increase in parental participation it won’t even be funny.

Uncle Sams Nephew on August 24, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Being from New Jersey, I wish Camden was in Penn. That place is one of the biggest sh#$holes on the planet.

rjoco1 on August 24, 2011 at 4:07 PM

If only they would read about what happens when you do stuff like this.
It won’t turn out well.

Oh, wait the people in charge are probably as illiterate as their students. Nevermind.

rockhead on August 24, 2011 at 4:20 PM

they can make 100 times that by selling crack or pimping their cousin out in the hood….what a continued money wasting stupid idea from the gubermint!

SDarchitect on August 24, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Smart move by Camden.

They pay 70 drop-outs to attend school during the first three weeks of the school year. I am damn certain numerous federal and state agencies base their funding allocations on the number of kids in each school within the same three week period.

Assuming it takes at least $12,000/student to provide schooling services in Camden, and the the school year is approximately 9 months …… the city will receive $1,333/student in funding ….. and it will only cost them $100/student to pull off this fraud.

What a wonderful system.

David in ATL on August 24, 2011 at 5:03 PM

To go to school for the first three weeks? They are trying to boost their body count, and their Title I funding, by paying kids to be there on the day they do the count.

It isn’t about the children.

secant on August 24, 2011 at 3:19 PM

This deserves a repost because it’s critical to the story.

No one in the district gives a flaming wazoo where the kids are or what they do the rest of the year… it’s just like the census. They need asses in seats on the day they do the official count to make sure they secure the maximum funding. Period.

saint kansas on August 24, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Reward the behavior you want, punish the behavior you don’t want… who doesn’t know this?

Sorry for what is clearly an animal training statement, but to a significant extent it works for people too; it’s the driving force behind fines, jail, tax exemptions/breaks, and subsidies after all.

It’s just weird when the government gets it backwards so often. Lets reward bad behavior and punish good behavior… hey why are people acting worse than before…

Can you really call the consequences “unintended” when they’re the only logical outcome of your actions?

gekkobear on August 24, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Its at least a start that they can target “troubled” students and take different approaches with them. This is hardly any money in their budget and I’m sure the success rate is still going to be disappointingly low.

If we are going to concern ourselves with the well being of the children we have to ask ourselves why they resist attending school and why they distrust their teachers so much. Tina’s right that it has everything to do with broken homes but government isn’t going to spackel these families back together. These kids are being pushed through the system without any real learning and even more so without any real social development. These kids call so behind in both school and life that by the 8th grade they’re in dire straits. The problem is the unions and other educational theorists think its damaging to separate these at risk kids from their peers when in fact its exactly what they need. You’re not going to teach these kids a single damn thing until you get them to trust and respect you.

So really I think this experiment, while coming up short, is at least changing the conversation and taking us a step in the right direction.

sluhser589 on August 24, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Headline in the local paper Oct 15:

TRUANCY UNEXPECTEDLY JUMPS 78% IN LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS

angryed on August 24, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Ah so. . . they pay the student for three weeks of attendance.

Then, when they submit their enrollment numbers to the state for funding they get 5K+ per student to teach them through the year.

Who cares if the student comes back for week 4, the schools get their cash.

Heck. . . if this works, schools should stagger their opening dates by 4 weeks, that way students can go from school to school to make some coin and all the schools get more money to teach fleece everyone with.

Wonderful idea. We’ll have the best emduckation system eva’ in short order.

Jason Coleman on August 24, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Screw that. Just kick them out of school, and spend the money on the kids that want to be there.

blink on August 24, 2011 at 5:51 PM

You better be willing to deal with the firestorm when it comes out that the schools are d@mn near empty. I’m personally all for it, though…

Uncle Sams Nephew on August 24, 2011 at 6:34 PM

And when they graduate, their employers will pay them to not skip work? Not pay them to produce anything, just pay them not to skip work? Sort of like:
“Hey, we’ll pay you $100 / day just to show up. We don’t care if you actually do something of value for us. Just show up. That’s all we care about. Plus we offer great benefits! Lazy, non-productive, and irresponsible? No problem! Just be here!”

Yep. I can see it now.

jaime on August 24, 2011 at 6:50 PM

BTW, Tina, I haven’t read the comments but Camden is across the river from Philadelphia – In New Jersey.

jaime on August 24, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Hilarious! I want to see the demographics.

Mason on August 24, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Start building that sense of entitlement as early in life as you can. Remember, the youth are the future after all.

KMC1 on August 24, 2011 at 8:39 PM

I cannot believe the teachers’ union will stand for this. It’s pretty much an open secret in the profession that the teachers count on only a percentage of students attending each day…

cynccook on August 24, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Really? Amazing all the factual information one picks up around here…who needs Wikipedia when you can get Ultimate Truths on this site?

It’s scary to see the kooky things that passes for normal on ideological sites (including Libtard sites). Some of these things put out by the Conservative fringe are quite frankly embarrassing.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 24, 2011 at 9:18 PM

FROM RECEIVING A FREE EDUCATION TO GET’N PAID TO GO TO SCHOOL….. THIS MUST BE BARRYWORLD

ROFLMMFAO

donabernathy on August 24, 2011 at 9:18 PM

No problem. Principal Joe Clark was ready for it in northern NJ, and he did just fine.

blink on August 24, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Touche, blink! I forgot all about him.

Uncle Sams Nephew on August 24, 2011 at 11:11 PM

**Correction request for post:

CAMDEN IS IN NEW JERSEY, NOT PENNSYLVANIA.

Good Lt on August 25, 2011 at 7:37 AM

At $100.00 a day, I can ignore anyone. To fain any level of intelligence or understanding will cost them $50.00 more.

MSGTAS on August 25, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Another shining example of why public eduction needs to be eliminated and replaced with tuition vouchers.

woodNfish on August 25, 2011 at 12:44 PM