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Grades for Contraband

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Last week in New York City, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced the start of another student-incentive program, according to the New York Times. For 2,500 Brooklyn middle school and charter school students, Samsung flip-phones with 130 prepaid minutes will be their reward for doing well in school. Teachers and administrators will be able to text reminders to students about homework or say, an upcoming test. How can students, who are not known for telephonic brevity, earn more minutes? Behave in school, maintain good attendance, and keep their grades up.

The “Million” program, which refers to the city’s 1.1 million students, is the brainchild of Harvard economist, Roland G. Fryer. Fryer, the city’s chief equality officer who also oversees another cash-incentive program for students said, “We want to reach kids where they are and where they are hanging out; they’re texting.” “Million,” which cost double that, was supposed to provide cellphones for 10-15,000 students, but the Fund for Public Schools could not raise the money.

In spite of the critics who protest rewarding students with a device banned in schools, Chancellor Klein defends the plan, “...This is about reality. We have an enormous set of challenges of student motivation in their education and [are] finding ways to get those kids excited.”

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"The Reality of What !" Cell Phones, and Text messages in the school are what is already fueling many of the violent and gang related problems which
occur in many of our New York City Schools on a daily basis. Threatening messages have become an every day issue in the South Bronx Middle School where I am employed. I would encourage Chancellor Klein to think carefully about such a move. Aside from the violence, all educators should be very careful about any on - line communication with students, due to the increased possibility of of an allegation of some type of sexual or immoral act. The idea sounds good on paper, but the REALITY is that in our schools all electronic devices should be banned. Utilize the funding for some other programs designed to keep our students engaged in something positive and out of the criminal element which exsists in many of our poverty stricken neighborhoods. The funding for after school athletic and enrichment programs would better serve our students. Cell phones should not be used as a method to motivate our students to improve individual academic performance. Living "THE REALITY EVERY DAY IN THE BRONX !

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