Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School?

What motivates kids to work hard in school? The exclusive story of a national experiment in paying for performance that delighted children, offended adults and provoked death threats against the scientist

Samantha Contis for TIME

From left: Rodney Thomas, Tyreke Johnson and Malik Harris, at Burroughs Education Center in Washington, look at their payment vouchers

In junior high school, one of my classmates had a TV addiction — back before it was normal. This boy — we'll call him Ethan — was an encyclopedia of vacuous content, from The A-Team to Who's the Boss?

Then one day Ethan's mother made him a bold offer. If he could go a full month without watching any TV, she would give him $200. None of us thought he could do it. But Ethan quit TV, just like that. His friends offered to let him cheat at their houses on Friday nights (Miami Vice nights!). Ethan said...

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