MDRC in the News

Hartford Public Schools Will Pay Incoming Ninth-Graders to Attend New Summer School Program

Hartford Courant

06/2019

Hartford Public Schools hope to curb chronic absenteeism by offering cash to students who attend a new high school summer prep program.

Hartford students entering ninth grade at any Hartford Public High School can earn $20 each day they attend summer school for four weeks this July, the city and pubic school system announced Wednesday. Registration for the program, which is called Summer Bridge, is open now…..

…..The concept of cities offering cash incentives for high school students to stay in school isn’t new, and studies have shown mixed results of its long-term effects.

Almost a decade ago, Memphis and New York City briefly ran trial versions of a system called “Family Rewards 2.0” that gave money to low-income families for meeting certain health care, employment and education goals. It began in 2011 and ran for four years, involving around 1,200 families in each city.

The Memphis program offered students who met attendance goals $40 a month, in addition to cash for test taking and final grades. According to a Politico report, A’s earned $30, B’s were worth $20 and C’s earned $10. The state wrote $50 checks to students who took college entrance exams, like the SAT or ACT. The program also offered cash to parents for maintaining employment or for visiting a dentist’s office.

Education and social policy research group MDRC found that though Family Rewards 2.0 met short-term economic goals, it did not affect high school students’ progress. Students in the program graduated from high school at the same rate as students not in the program after four years…..

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