Marybeth Hicks

The Urban Strategies program is but one of countless incentive plans aimed at improving student behavior and parent participation through cash rewards. Based on an extensive study of such programs for students in four major U.S. cities, researchers at Harvard University found that while some may improve classroom behavior, most don't make a difference on standardized test results. The effectiveness of programs for parents is less clear.

I confess these educational incentive programs chafe me. Education is a privilege to be protected. Parents who won't take responsibility for their children's schooling ought to be held accountable for the negligence they exhibit not bribed to get in the game.

The American public education system used to be one of the best in the world. For all of my adult life, it seems as a society we've been chasing our tails trying to figure out why it doesn't work the way it used to, or the way it should.

I'm not sure we need more reams of research to accept that we've created a monster of mediocrity.

When you can't fire bad teachers because of tenure and union protections, and you don’t require parents to participate even nominally in the education of their own children, it doesn't matter how many billions of dollars you spend to solve the problem.

Children will be inadequately educated and the country will pay the price.

Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).