Earn as you learn


UChicago Magazine, Jan-Feb 2012


On 16th Place in Chicago Heights, an industrial south-suburban town that feels haunted by the ghosts of vanished jobs, a school blends into its worn neighborhood. The tan, brown, and red brick buildings that make up the Washington-McKinley elementary and junior high schools could be the offices of any local business or government agency without the budget to update its facilities. On one wall, though, there’s a vibrant contrast: a bright red, blue, yellow, and green apple, the logo for the Griffin Early Childhood Center, an experimental preschool within the school, a field laboratory for education research.

The colorful sign represents a $10 million grant from the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation for what Bloomberg Markets Magazine called “one of the largest field experiments ever conducted in economics.” Recruiting 650 families each year, the study tests financial-incentive strategies for improving academic performance.

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