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Paying For Performance

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Giving cash for good grades undermines the value of learning.

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It's a bad idea to pay your kids for good grades.

Paying for solid academic performance undercuts a basic lesson: learning is important in its own right and knowledge is its own reward.

"Paying your kids for good grades will establish an unreasonable expectation for their professional futures," says Dr. John Hoover, a Minyanville professor, member of Partners in Human Resources International and author of 15 books, including How to Work for an Idiot: Survive and Thrive Without Killing Your Boss.

"They will expect to be paid for good work, which sometimes happens, but just as often doesn't," Hoover adds. "It's far better to teach kids early that the reward for doing good work is pride of accomplishment. If they receive any additional recognition, that's just icing on the cake."

A hug or a compliment from you will mean more to your child than cash. Instead of money, take your kid to a museum, a play or a symphony. Don't tie the event directly to academic performance – just say, "I think you'd enjoy this. Let's go."

Such trips will enrich your child's education in ways that cash can't. If you don't pitch it as an educational trip, chances are your kid will relax and enjoy it.

Remember: Kids need standards – not extra money to spend on an Apple (AAPL) iPod or the latest garb from Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Hot Topic (HOTT).

Think of the heroes of movies such as "Hoosiers," "Coach Carter" or "Stand and Deliver." The hero is a good teacher who demands discipline, offers encouragement and holds the students to a high standard to achieve stellar results. Money isn't a factor.

"Many talented college basketball and football coaches pass up the opportunity to move up to the NBA or the NFL because they don't want to deal with the attitudes athletes cop the minute there's a paycheck attached to the game," Hoover says.

Some believe paying for good grades reflects the real world where an employee's paycheck is tied to performance.

Few would argue that top performers at major companies such as Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC), Hewlett Packard (HPQ) or ExxonMobil (XOM) are rightly paid more than middle-of-the-pack workers. But this argument overlooks some basic distinctions: school shouldn't be seen as a job; kids aren't adults and shouldn't be motivated by money.

You want your child to pick up a book because it's interesting and feeds a desire to learn. You want your child to read for the sheer joy of reading – not because you pay for each book read.

"Paying kids for good grades forever destroys their amateur status as students," Hoover says. "The fastest way to destroy the joy of learning is to turn students into professional learners."
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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