Thursday, December 4, 2008

Roland Fryer and education innovation

This is most excellent. Roland Fryer on the Colbert Report talking about his program to pay kids for getting good grades (and you know if I link to the Colbert Report, it must be good, because I hate that guy...) Freakonomics link

Fryer: You're not the first person to call me racist. It's not racism, it's reality. [Note: I wish I were black so I could say these things. Damn PC movement.] The achievement gap in this country is our biggest civil rights concern.
Fryer: I watch a lot of TV.
Colbert: Do you watch this show?
Fryer: No.
Colbert: It's all theory?
Fryer: I'm a professor, what do you expect?
Colbert: What was wrong with the older generation's way of doing things, where they paid kids to do well in school by not opening a can of unholy whoop-ass? That was the currency I was raised with. [Note: Yes, exactly. Damn kids are so spoiled nowadays... back in my day I had to beg my parents to do homework after 9pm. No really.]
Fryer: When I first started this program, my grandma called me up and said 'hey you stole my idea, I had the first incentive program. It was called the Go Get Your Own Belt program.'


But, now I'm mad because I had almost the exact same idea this summer, except I was also going to incorporate some ideas relating to incentivizing improved teaching and self-teaching effectiveness, and was going to test it during summer school programs, since this focuses on the subset of the student population we'd be most interested in helping, and I'm guessing it would be easier to have a pilot program there than in an entire school during the year. Maybe I can still do something like that at some point though. I'm curious about this Harvard Education Innovation Lab now.