I don’t understand the hoola over paying students a monetary reward for getting good grades. After all, we’ve been doing it for years, except we’ve been using other words to describe it. Words such as ‘scholarship’ or in the case of Singapore, a bursar award. Sure, many of those scholarships are need-based (or so they say), some are merit-based. And defenders of the scholarship will tell you that it is based on exemplary behavior, good grades, strong community service, overcome hardship blah blah blah. But in truth, it is a monetary reward so that the student can continue their education. Well, what’s so different about a scholarship and this new incentive to give high school freshmen a monetary reward for getting good grades? As far as I can tell, its the same thing. Except instead of dishing out the dole directly into tuition where the poor kids will never see it, they get the cash. To do whatever they want with it. Sure, it won’t go into college. But who knows? These same kids might decide to save it up for college afterall. Or perhaps with the extra cash, they might not have to take a part-time job at McDonalds or at the corner to put themselves through high school and they can spend more time in school. So what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with ensuring that kids make it through high school instead of only trying to ensure that they make it through college? If you ask me, all they have to do is re-name this reward plan as a scholarship, and we’ll be good to go!