Wow. I've heard a lot of different ideas for extra-credit projects before — oral presentations, research reports, classmate tutoring — but I have to say that a recent Florida extra credit idea takes the cake.  


Cash-strapped teachers in Florida's South Broward High School have offered students better grades for bringing in school supplies. And not just a few points, but an entire letter grade. According to a recent NPR story, one student brought his grade in art class up to an A by bringing in paper towels. Another student brought her Algebra II grade up from a C to B by bringing in supplies.


I'm all for programs that bring students and teachers together to make the classroom run smoothly, but this seems like an excessive reward for bringing in some basic school supplies. I don't blame the teachers. In fact, I think this is an incredibly creative solution to a problem that teachers everywhere face, but doesn't it kind of make grades meaningless if you can improve your score by an entire letter grade simply by bringing in a box of paper clips? And what about the kids whose families are struggling to provide their own basic supplies? This kind of program would skew better grades in favor of kids who can afford it — and that's never a good idea.


What I find so frustrating is that teachers are put in this position in the first place. We're doing something very wrong as a society when the schools in which we entrust our children don't have the basic supplies they need to teach them.


Do you agree or disagree?

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