We grew up in a slightly hippie household where financial interactions between parents and kids — especially incentives or rewards for good behavior — were frowned upon. This is clearly not the atmosphere in which Michael Bloomberg was raised. (This may also explain why he's a billionaire five times over and we're, well, not.) First came the mayor's Mexico-inspired initiative to pay lower-income parents for adequate performance of their parental duties. (Kid aced a test? Here's $300.) That'll start in September, but now he's got an even simpler idea: Cut out the middleman — that is, the parent — and reward the kid directly. Under this latest scheme, fourth graders would receive $25 incentives for each perfect score on an assessment test. Seventh graders will get twice that. There's also a little somethin' for the school: a $5,000 "gift" for instituting the tests in the first place. Sounds good, but all these random bits of cash flying to and fro leave us with a queasy feeling. Is Bloomberg trying to get the scores up, or to get the next generation of public-school kids used to living on rich guys' tips?
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