A certificate used to be enough for students with perfect attendance at the end of the school year. But in the Los Angeles Unified School District, two perfect attendees throughout high school received new Chevrolet Sonics, priced at $18,000, for showing up to school every day. During the 2012-2013 school year, LAUSD has handed out monthly prizes to kids who were present every day; the awards were presented by local donor companies, including Knott’s Berry Farm and Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.
Five elementary students also will receive iPads for winning the so-called Attendance Challenge, and six campuses will receive cash prizes of $3,000 to create programs to encourage attendance.
Why all the focus on attendance instead of student performance? Because the LAUSD system is paid by the state of California only for attendance. Every student is worth $32 per day from the state to the LAUSD system. That means that when students skip school, the unionized teachers and administrators pay the price. This year alone, LAUSD missed out on $156 million in funding thanks to students cutting class, including $14 million for kindergarteners who didn’t show up.
It isn’t Oprah running LAUSD and handing out cars. It’s the teachers unions, which are mainly concerned with creating bizarre incentive systems to get butts in the seats rather than knowledge in the brains.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).