I was recently thinking about a something I watched take place last year - the official “school count” day.
Specifically, a very large school district here in the state of Michigan was providing free meals and giveaway items in trying to “lure” attendance from every student possible.
This is from the school district’s official website:
Free breakfast and lunch
The Office of Food Services will offer breakfast and lunch to every student at no charge.
Students who attend class all day on count day will have a chance to win a 42-inch plasma flat screen TV, laptop computer, iPod nanos, or an American Express gift card through a Radio One contest.
From what I’ve read, 75 percent of school funding in our state is based on the fall count day, and 25 percent is based on the winter count day.
Something about this recruitment “approach” just didn’t sit right with me. Numerous studies have shown that the best results do not necessarily come when award-based incentives are given.
Now, perhaps if you’re just looking to fill a seat on a particular day, this tactic might prove somewhat successful.
But if you’re trying to inspire and motivate someone to attend school on a daily basis - and not be a delinquent or dropout – the results may actually be worse than if you never offered the incentive.