Teen truancy is a real problem for a lot of schools, but especially so for the Dohn Community High School in Cincinnati. It only has a 14% graduation rate and has been deemed an “academic emergency” by the state of Ohio.

So the school is trying out a novel approach: it’s paying students to show up and behave themselves.

Kids with solid attendance and clean discipline records are being rewarded with Visa gift cards for amounts between $10 and $25, and the school is also making $5 deposits into saving accounts set up for those students.

It may not sound like much, but a school administrator said, “Our student population is 90 percent poverty … Money is important to them. We can’t teach them if they’re not here.”

A student added, “I’m very excited to get the money … It makes me want to come to school on time, not that I don’t. But some students don’t have the money and this will help them. It’s a good idea.”

Despite some criticism of the plan, you can’t argue with results — the program has only been in place for a week and school attendance is already up 15%. Of course, that 15% is probably daydreaming in class about what they’re going to buy.

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