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January 1, Ohio Bill Proposes Cash Incentives for Student Attendance

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In an effort to combat chronic school absenteeism, Ohio lawmakers have proposed a new solution: pay kids to attend class. A bill in Ohio would provide families with $500 a year for each kindergartener or 9th grader who attends school 90% of the time. Additionally, high school seniors would receive $250 for graduating and up to $750 more if their GPAs are 3.0 or higher.

This bipartisan bill is sponsored by state Representatives Bill Seitz, a Republican, and Dani Isaacsohn, a Democrat, both hailing from the Cincinnati area. The bill outlines a two-year pilot program for the idea, which would cost approximately $1.5 million. However, not every school and student would be able to participate in the pilot stage, as the program would target schools with low attendance rates.

Seitz explained to the House Primary & Secondary Education Committee earlier this month, “So, we’re going to pick sort of the worst of the worst on attendance and see if we can move the needle.” School absenteeism has increased significantly since the pandemic, not only in Ohio but across the country as well.

Isaacsohn stated, “School attendance and absenteeism is probably the number one issue in education today, it is an absolute crisis.” He added, “It’s a principle we all understand well that money is motivating but beyond that, it’s about the principle that sometimes people need a nudge to get back to positive behavior.”

In the Columbus area, approximately half the students miss 10% or more of the school year, which equates to about three and a half weeks. Although the situation has improved since the height of the pandemic, it remains a pressing issue. Preliminary state data reported by The New York Times reveals that nearly 10% of K-12 students were absent from school on an average day during the 2022-2023 school year.

Many students are also struggling with severe learning loss due to remote learning during the pandemic. Seitz remarked, “We’ve tried pizza day and we’ve tried playground hours, and we’ve tried all kind of foo-foo stuff. Doesn’t seem to work.”

However, the bill has faced criticism from several Republicans who argue that it encourages an “entitlement mentality” and that the state should not pay people to simply follow the law. State Representative Josh Williams questioned at a committee hearing, “Are we going to get to the point where we’re paying rapists not to rape? Are we really going to start that trend where we’re going to go in and invest to prevent people from committing crimes?”

Why It Matters (op-ed)

This absurd proposal to pay kids to attend school is yet another example of the leftist “participation trophy” mentality. Instead of addressing the root causes of absenteeism, lawmakers are resorting to bribing students.

This is not only a waste of taxpayer money but also fosters an entitlement mindset in our youth. Rather than cultivating personal responsibility, this policy would teach kids that they deserve rewards for simply complying with the law.

Furthermore, the comparison to paying criminals not to commit crimes is apt. We cannot allow this dangerous precedent to take hold. We must demand better solutions that promote accountability and address the underlying issues in our education system.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. BrendaS

    February 10, 2024 at 10:47 am

    Has anyone even considered why they are not attending? Perhaps, they don’t like the woke liberal ideology and instead would prefer to focus on reading, writing and arithmetic? Perhaps, they are home-schooling and finding that approach much more desirable than what the state is demanding? Fix the educational system and you will have solved the problem.

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