With so many Georgia schools at the back of the pack scholastically, and high drop-out rates compounding the problem, many believe it’s time for drastic measures.

Robb Pitts

Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts would be one of those.

The former educator said he sees the writing on the wall for the nation’s schools, and he’s not talking about the chalkboard.

"We’ve got to do something differently," Pitts said. "We know that our kids are failing horribly with respect to math and science compared to other kids in other countries."

That’s why the long-time Atlanta politician is putting together a program that would pay kids an hourly wage to stay in school and get good grades. The program is called Learn and Earn, and Pitts said it’s a concept borrowed from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

"We take underachieving kids in a pilot program, and we pay them an hourly rate probably seven dollars an hour to meet certain standards,” Pitts explained. “And if they meet those standards, they get seven dollars an hour to learn and earn. That’s the real concept. It’s very unique, it’s real simple idea, and I know in my heart of hearts, I know it is going to work."

The concept of dollars for scholars would appear to be a popular one among students. But not all of them agree that it should be implemented.

“I can see where they’re coming from,” said Inman Middle School student James Taylor III. “It will drive them to go to school and learn their studies, but I really think that learning is a privilege for them that when you go to school, if anything the people who are teaching you should be paid (more)."

But Taylor’s brother, John, a Grady High School graduate and freshman at Georgia State, said the program would have merit.

“I think it may work. Those students who are already driven, it may be an extra incentive maybe to push them further; and those students who might not be pushed as hard, well money is always a great incentive so I think it might push them to do a little better."

The program would last anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks and would begin in January of 2008. It would be paid for by corporate sponsors.

Via: Local News