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ABCs, Easy if You Pay Me

I am a public-school teacher, and I'm intrigued by the idea of paying kids for results, but I worry about the long-term effects [April 19]. School is where kids learn math and reading, but it is also where they learn how to be people. Bribing kids in school has the potential to deeply warp our society in ways we might not understand.

Erika Englund, BERKELEY, CALIF.

As a parent of a middle schooler in a competitive prep school, I pay my daughter for her grades. Each A earns her $20 per quarter; each B, $5. Why not pay her for her hard work--her "job"--as opposed to paying her a weekly allowance to do chores that she should be doing around the house as a member of our household?

Jill Cohen, TEMPE, ARIZ.

Paying students may have short-term benefits. But a failure to understand broader life concepts like delayed gratification has far-reaching ramifications. One of them is a have-it-now mentality that helped bring about the housing bubble.

Harold Rich, FORT WORTH, TEXAS

The word bribe in your cover story is disappointing. A bribe usually refers to something paid to try to get someone to do something wrong or illegal. Rewarding children to do well in school is neither.

Chuck Hodierne, GREENSBORO, N.C.

You put a cute, skinny white girl making stacks of cash on your cover--when all the children in the actual article were African American or Hispanic. That's a disturbing discrepancy and insulting to all concerned.

Melody Hammell, CHARLESTON, S.C.

Bully Pulpit

What happened here in South Hadley, as Nancy Gibbs details in her Essay on bullying, was an unspeakable tragedy [April 19]. But children learn from what they see. The current climate in our country is one of pervasive bullying, from Tea Parties to TV talk shows to venomous tirades by radio hosts. Incivility and disrespect have never been more widespread. It's time we put a halt to it.

Yvonne Nicholson, SOUTH HADLEY, MASS.

Doc, Do We Have a Deal?

Barbara Kiviat is correct: price shopping for health care can and does lower costs [April 19]. One would think making pricing transparent would be legislation even very conservative Republicans and Libertarians would line up behind. As a registered Republican, I am disgusted that my party didn't push to include this measure in the recent health-reform bill.

Michael Anderson, SAN RAMON, CALIF.

Well done. Mightn't something as simple and powerful as what Kiviat suggests have been incorporated in the 2,000-plus pages of new law?

David Johnson, SAN DIEGO

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