Goto Class, Win A Car

Thanks to a new program, if you're a high school student in Las Vegas, you might possibly win a new car just for showing up to class. In a novel approach to boosting school attendance, Clark High School in Las Vegas plans to enter students with fewer than three absences into a raffle for the one-year use of a new Saturn. Students who show up to class regularly are also eligible to win other prizes such as CDs, backpacks, and free movie tickets. Ain't America grand? It's the "if you finish your vegetables, you'll get dessert" approach to education, and chances are it'll be a big hit.

Why, oh why, couldn't they have had this program when I was in school? I was a geek. I went to class almost all the time. I could have cleaned up on loot. Damnit, it's not fair. Aside from admission into a decent college and learning a few things, I didn't get nothing out of high school. I should have at least been given some free movie passes along with my diploma, but no the bastards robbed me.

If you ask me, it's a great plan, and -- just in case my boss is reading -- I think it should also be applied to the real world.

"Wow, Joe, it's just excellent how you show up every day like you're supposed to. Here's a brand new car."
"Thanks. You know, on some days, I do work. Can I have a big screen TV as well?"

A plan like this also teaches students an important lesson from the world of business: Sometimes, if you just show up and sit on your ass all day, you'll still get paid. You might even become a manager. Tragically, too many students graduate unprepared for this reality, but with a valuable program like this students will finally understand that results don't always matter a whole lot in the world of business.

Obviously, the school officials mean well. They hope that if kids are in class, they will also learn more. But I fear that the winner will probably be some D student who didn't pay any attention in class because he was too busy dreaming of a new car. And once the student wins, does anyone really think he will still be going to class? Of course not. Instead, he'll be skipping chemistry class to cruise down to the casinos in his brand new Saturn.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the school is paying for the car with an educational grant, but I wonder if they have to pay for the smaller prizes. After all, those prizes would be an ideal way for a company to earn free publicity with teenagers -- advertising's most important demographic. Think about it. Major companies would jump at the chance to donate their products just for the exposure. In the future, we could open up every school to corporate sponsorship. Our biggest companies could essentially underwrite the success (or at least the showing up) of our young people.

Go an entire year without going to detention; win a free pair of Air Jordans! Earn an A average; win a free computer! Don't get caught with drugs; win admission to the R-rated movie of your choice! (It's much like my ingenious plan to boost teenage math scores by requiring visitors of Internet porn sites to answer complex math questions -- a plan which surprisingly not one presidential candidate has endorsed.)

Do well. Win loot. When you think about it, such a wonderful policy should be extended beyond high school. It would be the perfect way to reduce the crime rate, for instance. Instead of punishing people for crimes, let's reward those who don't get in trouble. Why not automatically enter everyone without a criminal record into a giant lottery? We could even have someone like Clint Eastwood do the advertising campaign. "Remember, you can only win if you're good. Criminal scum need not apply." In no time, crime rates would drop dramatically. The world would become a happier and safer place -- plus some of us might win cash.

Meanwhile, I'm just hoping I can convince someone to let me go back high school. After all, I want a new car too.

Copyright 1999 by Joe Lavin
Joe Lavin's Humor Column is published every Tuesday at:

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Submitted By: Joe Lavin
May 6, 1999 06:28

This joke is rated: PG