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Rewards Work … Sometimes

I was surprised to learn that rewarding some kids means punishing other kids.

—Middle School Teacher

For many children, the learning years are not working out so successfully. Hating everything about school is not the ideal setting for reaching one’s potential. Data confirm this observation. It’s no secret that academic performance has stagnated for a long time. Every October, the Nation’s Report Card delivers a long list of disappointing numbers representing student academic achievement. A review going back to when data was first collected by NAEP verifies a flat-lined graph year after year since 1969 (7). Scientists from many fields suggest far-flung reasons for such a dire state of affairs; reasons that range ...

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