Ohio Lawmakers Propose Paying Kids To Go To School

An Ohio bill would pay families $500 a year.
Students raising hands in classroom, rear view
(Getty Images)

Amid an epidemic of chronic school absenteeism, Ohio lawmakers have a new idea to solve the problem — pay kids to come to class.

An Ohio bill would pay families $500 a year for each kindergartener or 9th grader who attends school 90% of the time. The bill would also give high school seniors $250 for graduating and up to $750 more if their GPAs are 3.0 or higher.

The bipartisan bill is sponsored by state Representatives Bill Seitz, a Republican, and Dani Isaacsohn, a Democrat, both from the Cincinnati area.

The bill says it would create a two-year pilot program for the idea, which would cost about $1.5 million.

Not every school and student would be able to participate in the pilot stage — the program would be targeted at schools with low attendance.

“So, we’re going to pick sort of the worst of the worst on attendance and see if we can move the needle,” Seitz told the House Primary & Secondary Education Committee earlier this month.

School absenteeism has surged since the pandemic in Ohio as well as across the country.

“School attendance and absenteeism is probably the number one issue in education today, it is an absolute crisis,” Isaacsohn said.

“It’s a principle we all understand well that money is motivating but beyond that, it’s about the principle that sometimes people need a nudge to get back to positive behavior,” the Democrat said.

In the Columbus area, about half the students miss 10% or more of the school year, about three and a half weeks, although the situation has improved since right after the pandemic.

Across the country, nearly 10% of K-12 students were missing from school on an average day during the 2022-2023 school year, according to preliminary state data reported by The New York Times.

Meanwhile, many students are suffering with severe learning loss brought on by remote learning during the pandemic.

“We’ve tried pizza day and we’ve tried playground hours, and we’ve tried all kind of foo-foo stuff,” Seitz said. “Doesn’t seem to work.”

However, several Republicans criticized the bill, saying it encourages an “entitlement mentality” and that the state should not pay people to simply follow the law.

“Are we going to get to the point where we’re paying rapists not to rape,” state Representative Josh Williams asked at a committee hearing. “Are we really going to start that trend where we’re going to go in and invest to prevent people from committing crimes?”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Ohio Lawmakers Propose Paying Kids To Go To School