Rewards Promote Bad Habits

   Rewards throughout an educational career come in the form of certificates, stickers, and extended lunches. Rewards celebrate success and motivate the recipient to continue that pattern of success. Recently, rewards seem to be used to promote bad habits and underachievement. 

   Announcements posted to honor credit recovery participants with a pizza party demeans excelling students who were rewarded with an unorganized AAIMS assembly. Many of the students being recognized for passing AP exams were forced to sit in the bleachers due to not enough seats on the court. Being one of those students, it felt disappointing and discouraging to not be able to sit with the rest of the students to be commended. Faculty brought out six more chairs during the assembly, but the minimal effort failed to accommodate the remaining students in the stands.

   The school introduced a credit recovery program setting them up for failure. If a teacher notices that a student is failing in the first nine weeks, why didn’t they try to help them earlier? The failing students won’t see the problem until it is too late. Furthermore, the school rewards the credit recovery program with things like Chick-Fil-A, donuts, and pizza. The school should not take money out of the yearly budget to incentivize failing students.

   This system can be perceived as unfair to many students, especially the ones exceeding in their classes. Students that showed up to class everyday on time and passing their classes felt that their work ethic was being discouraged. With the students attending credit recovery classes, many seem to rarely be in class and not care about their schoolwork. If a dog peed on the floor, would you reward them by giving them a treat? 

    Faculty members can see when students’ grades are dropping. Why aren’t attempts made to help them before a grade drops? The credit recovery program inspires students to stop doing their school work to be rewarded later on. In reality, the staff should take more notice when a student is struggling with their classes and utilize the FLEX time. 

   With the understanding of how credit recovery works, the school is enabling students by rewarding them for not keeping up. Not only are there students involved in AP classes, there are many students who only partake in PRE-AP and concurrent classes. The school’s system can be seen as only celebrating the more motivated students for an hour-long ceremony, while students in need of “help” are being rewarded every nine weeks. If the school celebrates those who got their grades back up every quarter, then what’s the motivation for students that maintain a solid work ethic?