Over the years a few school districts have tried paying students to get better grades and/or higher test scores.

Does that work?

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, that’s hard to say.

In the latest study of student-incentive programs, researchers examining a 12-year-old program in Texas found that rewarding pupils for achieving high scores on tough tests can work. A handful of earlier studies of programs in Ohio, Israel and Canada have had mixed conclusions; results of a New York City initiative are expected in October. Comparing results is further complicated by the fact that districts across the country have implemented the programs differently.

Now DC Public Schools, which is pretty much down to trying anything to improve their test scores, is considering offering kids cash incentives for simply behaving and showing up for class.

For years, school officials have used detention, remedial classes, summer school and suspensions to turn around poorly behaved, underachieving middle school students, with little results. Now they are introducing a program that will pay students up to $100 per month for displaying good behavior.

Beginning in October, 3,000 students at 14 middle schools will be eligible to earn up to 50 points per month and be paid $2 per point for attending class regularly and on time, turning in homework, displaying manners and earning high marks.

While bribery incentive programs may work on some students, are they really a long term solution for improving American education?

Wouldn’t that money be better spend on a complete overhaul of the whole system?