An Incentives-Based Approach to Implementing Financial Fitness for Life in the Milwaukee Public Schools

By Butt, Nicole M.; Haessler, Stephen J. et al. | Journal of Private Enterprise, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

An Incentives-Based Approach to Implementing Financial Fitness for Life in the Milwaukee Public Schools


Butt, Nicole M., Haessler, Stephen J., Schug, Mark C., Journal of Private Enterprise


Abstract

This paper reports on the research aimed at measuring the effect of financial incentives provided to teachers in implementing a financial and economic education curriculum in a large urban school district. The initiative involved paying teachers to attend a two-day training program and to allow their students to be pre- and post-tested using a national, standardized test. The testing was conducted to provide empirical evidence regarding the implementation of the curriculum. The statistical analysis of the pre-and post-test scores revealed that students' knowledge gains were statistically significant and that they significantly outperformed students who did not participate in the program.

JEL Codes: A2, A29, D73

Keywords: Economic education, Financial education, Incentives

I. Introduction

The proposition that people respond to incentives in predictable ways is not very controversial among most economists. In public education, however, the role of incentives has been hody debated.

This paper reports on research aimed at measuring the effect of incentives in implementing a financial and economic education curriculum published by the National Council on Economic Education called Financial Fitness for Life (FFL) (Flowers & Szot Gallaher, 2001) in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). The MPS had adopted this curriculum for use in its seventh grade social studies program in 2004, and although the materials were purchased and teachers were trained, very few teachers actually implemented the program. With help from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, it was decided that, with most principals and grade seven teachers seemingly ignoring central office policy, perhaps a voluntary, incentives-based approach would work better. The new initiative involved paying MPS teachers to attend a two-day training program and to allow us to pre-and post-test their students using a national, standardized test of financial and economic understanding developed for this curriculum. The testing was conducted to provide empirical evidence regarding the implementation of the curriculum. The statistical analysis of the pre-and post-test scores revealed that students' knowledge gains were statistically significant and that they significantly outperformed students who did not participate in the program.

Thus, the primary research question in this study was: Would the addition of incentives in the form of bonus payments to teachers result in the voluntary implementation of an economic and personal finance curriculum in an urban school district in which previous efforts had failed?

II. Related Research

What is the role of incentives in education? Do different forms of compensation matter? The landmark Coleman Report (Coleman, Campbell, Hobson, McPartland, Mood, Weinfield and York, 1966) implied that school governance matters such as incentives and teacher effort may have little effect on academic achievement. It concluded that students' family backgrounds trumped all other variables in terms of school outcomes. One inference was that poverty and ethnicity exerted a powerful effect on academic achievement. Family background and neighborhood environment mattered more than school governance or teacher effort.

The Coleman Report (Coleman, Campbell, Hobson, McPartland, Mood, Weinfield and York, 1966) touched off a debate. Educational researchers and economists disagreed on the role of incentives in education. Studies of teacher incentives appear to fall into two groups. The first group includes advocates for alternative forms of teacher compensation to reward performance. This group offers little empirical support for its claims (Odden and Kelly, 2002). The second group seeks to verify or refute the research of Eric Hanishek's controversial finding that "money doesn't matter" in evaluating the impact of teacher compensation on student performance (Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin, 1999). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Incentives-Based Approach to Implementing Financial Fitness for Life in the Milwaukee Public Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.