A Response to Steven Vogel "Grades and Money”
In the essay "Grades and Money,” Steven Vogel presents to the reader, the relationship that exists between money and grades. He argues that students are only interested in getting good grades rather than learning. He says that most of the students have created a direct relationship between grades and money. They believe that good grades create opportunities to get more money than poor grades. Vogel successfully directs the value of education from the importance studying to that of the relationship that exists between good grades and making money. It is to this regard that students strive to get good grades so as to have a good income. The author even says “We let grades count as money--we let education count as money--because money, nowadays, is the only value we know” (Vogel 446). It is indeed true to say that money has influence on student performance because most of them get motivated by the scholarships awarded to high achievers to pursue higher education. This therefore serves as an indicator that financial aid and scholarships should be linked to a student’s grades.
Society has put great emphasis on rewarding high achievers and this is why they are given financial aid for higher learning. This is the sole reason why many students go to school. Otherwise if they had been given a choice no one would be in school. Those who perform better are further encouraged to do so by society giving them incentives like money just like Vogel says. He admits that his college “has begun to offer merit scholarships, which is to say financial aid to very good students without requiring them to prove financial need” (448). There is always a promise of scholarships to continue studying if only students perform well. This then serves as the motivator for them to work hard at school. These scholarships help students’ access higher education almost for free because they pay less or no money at all. This then means that the problem of money will always be sorted out when it comes to tuition fee. One will find that students from needy families have this as the only sure short cut to higher education because they know they cannot afford it if they were to cater for their tuition fee. They therefore work hard to get these grades for money and nothing else.
Many students work hard in school to get a high grade point average. Personally that is my motivator because that will be a sure way of pursuing my dream career. This is the point that will determine the courses and careers that they will want to venture into. When we look at the whole subject that Vogel delves to address, this turns out to be the whole issue that grades are for money and money is for the grades. Upon completion of high school education and acquiring good grades, a student will be better placed to get sponsored to take up some of the best career opportunities available for them. This will in the long run translate into getting a good job that pays very well. This will then ensure that a person leads a comfortable life because this will mean that they will earn well to take care of their bills without too much struggling. Good grades will mean that one goes on to study what they want so as to get the best job offers out there and this will mean that they will lead a good life. This then prove Vogel’s assumptions right.
It is good to recognize the fact that students need to be given incentives in order to perform well in their academics. Giving them things like scholarships will go a long way into contributing to what these students will become in the future. Such incentives will make them work hard in order to be rewarded. But even so, chances are that these students will forget the essence of learning which is to become knowledgeable. They will put much focus on the tangible goal and forget that knowledge is more powerful that the monetary value that education has been given. This is the main point that Vogel seeks to remind the stakeholders. It is therefore good to consider the fact that students that perform well should be given financial aid to further their studies. These are students who are well endowed academically but cannot afford the more expensive higher education. They also need to know that academic achievement does not stop at the good grades and scholarships awarded. Education should leave a person knowledgeable and competent to carry out tasks given to them.
In my opinion, the writer offers new understandings into how far money has taken over the valuation of things in life. While the paper focuses on the value of money to university students, the conclusion introduces the idea that money is nowadays “the only value we know.” This opens the eyes of the reader because it moves him from the narrow corridor of education to an open field. This article is a good read because of a number of factors. First of all, the writer addresses the whole issue of education being disregarded and instead a lot of emphasis is being put on grades. Monetary value has been put on education and that is why awarding of scholarships has become very competitive. Vogel says that President Clinton’s proposal to support the argument that people have shifted their focus from learning towards grades. Students now want to earn scholarships and nothing else.
Vogel, Steven. Grades and Money. Dissent 44:445-448.