Concerned over perceived lack of involvement by African-American parents, Des Moines group considers paying parents to attend school events

UPDATE 2: I found the Education Brain Trust’s Web site here.

UPDATE 1: I try to avoid making too many editorial comments about news items I post – I want this blog to be a news source, not my personal editorial page.  However, given the attention this post has attracted, I wanted to point out that – as the Iowa Independent piece states – this proposal DOES NOT come from the Des Moines school district or from any other ‘official’ school source.  Rather, it comes form a private ‘third party’ group involved in schooling issues in Des Moines.  I don’t know more about this group, the Education Brain Trust, than is mentioned in the article, but I assume it is some kind of non-profit or public interest group.  It is NOT, as far as I know, an official part of the Des Moines school system.

The Iowa Independent reports:

Paulette Wiley knows she may catch some flak for what’s she’s about to do, but the leader of the Education Brain Trust believes that African-American students in Des Moines are in an academic crisis.

“The bridge between education and incarceration needs to be blown up and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Wiley, director of the group which advocates for black parents and students.

Wiley wants parents to learn how they can help battle the problems affecting black children in the Des Moines School District — even if it means giving them cash as an incentive to attend upcoming parent meetings in May. A community meeting about the initiative is scheduled for next month.

The group is considering paying parents $25 or giving them a gift card to attend parent meeting that will be scheduled at schools around the city in May. The “parent empowerment zone” meetings will include free food, transportation and child care. Wiley said the meetings will be fun and interactive.

“As I look out at the young people today, we can’t go to them where we want them to be,” Wiley said. “We’ve got to go to them where they are. If indeed that is an incentive, then that’s what we’ve got to do.”


7 responses to “Concerned over perceived lack of involvement by African-American parents, Des Moines group considers paying parents to attend school events

  1. Such hogwash! We don’t respect black parents so we have to pay them to come to school. This country deserves what it is about to reap!

  2. If this isn’t the STUPIDIST,most INANE, RIDICULASE, PITIFUL, thing I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is. Just when I think this country cannot get any lower, it supercedes itself. Kids today could not be more spoiled. Why don’t we just cut out the middle man, do what we do with pro atheletes, just pass them regardless of grades, pay off whatever employer they decide they’d like to work for. they’re not going to have skills anyway.

  3. I do not receive a stipend to raise my children. I work 16 hour days. Making money and cleaning, cooking and laundry, etc.

    Both of my kids will work to fulfull their school work and fundraise in their community to bring additional programs they and their classmates will benefit from. That is incentive.

  4. The school board owes me about $50,000 then.

  5. what a bunch of crap

    pay kids to go to school? its their responsibility
    pay parents to parent? is their responsibility

  6. I applaud your efforts and pray that they do indeed have positive effects on the parents. I just wish you lived in Florida and had come up with this idea when I was attending parent/teacher meetings oh so many years ago! LOL!
    I am personally using this form of incentive for my grandchildren and while I have had to pay out quite a few dollars for all of their A’s, I consider it an investment in their bright future.
    God bless you for thinking on a broad scale and including parents in this process. I honestly believe that the more parents that get actively involved with a child’s learning process, the better that process will be for the child and the teacher. And, however you can draw the parents into the learning process, by all means employ it. You never know. You may actually encourage some parents to restart the learning process for themselves and enroll in higher education courses, thereby giving their children more of an incentive to learn.
    I pray God opens this door of opportunity for you and when He does, walk boldly through it!

  7. Paying parents $25? Goes to show just how broke we’re becoming. Something that worked for me was being paid for report cards. A’s were $5, B’s were $3, C’s were $1. I would get paid at midterm and the end of each quarter. It helped motivate me for sure. Although nowadays, the scale would probably be more like 20, 10, 5 (I’d use $4 as a little extra encouragement to get B’s :-).

    There’s a post regarding black Americans at the top (or near) of my blog ( that addresses a similar issue, though more similar to the orginal article…