Chalkbeat had a piece entitled "Free lunches for middle schoolers could mean new pressure for principals." Without the incentive of free or subsidized lunches, schools will still need to coax parents to return family-income forms. If too few forms are returned, schools risk losing their Title I eligibility and tens of thousands of dollars in federal funds used to pay for everything from teachers to technology and textbooks.
My past experience tells me middle schools have a near impossible task on their hands. Some schools have realized that desperate times call for desperate measures. Blueprint Middle School in the Bronx staged a competition to award the most movie tickets to the class that returned its forms the quickest. It isn't enough though. We must all pitch in to help the middle schools propose more rewards to increase the return rate for these all-important forms.
I have a few rewards in mind. Perhaps the class that returns its forms the fastest can enjoy an opt-out party when the Common Core state tests roll around again. Instead of suffering through exam hell, maybe the students could actually spend the six days learning in fun ways. Let the class ban test prep for the year, too. Can you imagine learning for the sake of learning?
But, here's a more Common-Core aligned solution. The class that returns the most forms could score a free trip to Albany to quiz our State Regents on Common-Core aligned questions. Warning: The cut scores will be set to pass only 35%!