Oklahoma City Students to Get Cell Phones for Good Grades

Tuesday, October 5th 2010, 12:23 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Some Oklahoma City Public Schools students will be part of a pilot program to determine if rewards can help boost grades.

The school district announced Tuesday it would participate in an incentive program called "The Million." It will reward sixth and seventh graders with cell phones for academic achievement. The program was a collaboration between TracFone Wireless and the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University (EdLabs).

Dr. Roland Fryer of EdLabs started "The Million" to test how students responded to incentives. The program originally debuted in New York City in 2008. TracFone will eventually roll out the "The Million" on a national level, but the pilot program in Oklahoma City Public Schools will be a key first step.

"Cell phones are ubiquitous," Dr. Fryer said. "The Million provides an unprecedented opportunity to use technology to communicate with students and boost their academic achievement."

Starting Friday, October 8, 1,500 randomly chosen students will participate in the nine-month experiment.

"OKCPS is excited to be a part of this amazing opportunity to reward our students for academic achievement and put the district and city in the national education spotlight," Superintendent Karl Springer said. "Anytime we have the chance to close the achievement gap in urban schools, we need to examine the opportunity and if it is a good fit, make certain our students get the chance to participate."

OKCPS will officially announce its participation in the program Friday during a news conference at Roosevelt Middle School Library.