It's hard enough to get kids to come to school, and when they have to report to a dilapidated school system where they might, you know, get shot, it can be damn near impossible. And truancy can be a big problem for a school, as its funding is tied to how many kids are actually filling desks.
Great turnout today, guys.
Detroit Public Schools, however, found an answer to all of that. See, they lose money if kids don't show up, but the people in charge of the funding aren't there every day to keep count. No, Michigan funds its public schools based on the amount of students that report on two state-mandated "count days." These count days are announced in advance, and state funding equates to about $7,550 per student that shows up to school on that day, which translates to an assload of cash for the school system. Therefore, Detroit's schools pull out the stops to make sure that the kids show up on these days no matter what.
"I don't care if you and your sister are upset, your Grandma's death just cost us over $15 grand."
This means a "count day" will feature everything from free ice cream to in-class parties. Some schools hold basketball tournaments during school hours. Bethune Academy, among others, had a movie/popcorn day with the promise of lots of game playing. Duffeld School promised "free time and a day of fun" while Gardner Elementary was giving away "special gifts for attendance."
None of that boring learning for you today now that you're in school. Here's an Xbox.
That's right; when all else fails, bribe the damn kids to come to school. It's not like it's a law to attend or anything.
Most of the schools, in fact, were having raffles for door prizes throughout the day, including bikes and MP3 players. Detroit City High School even raffled off free extra credit; we're not sure how that doesn't constitute academic fraud, but hey, whatever works for them. On top of this, students also get entered into a larger raffle for prizes including a 42-inch plasma flatscreen TV or a laptop computer. And all of this is just for walking in the goddamned door.
"Well done for existing, Tommy! Have a lollipop."
Are they teaching the kids a bad lesson? We're not even sure any more. Because the lesson seems to be one that applies fairly well in the real world: When times are desperate, you do whatever it goddamn takes.
For more ways educational institutions have lost it, check out 8 Real Grade Schools That Went Completely Insane. And see what you should really be learning in The 10 Most Important Things They Didn't Teach You In School.