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Paying kids to go to school: Good or bad idea?

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," February 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: So, a charter school in Cincinnati plans to pay students from poor homes to show up, behave and do their homework in the hopes that one day they will graduate. Starting this week, Dohn Community High -- that sounds so nice -- will dole out 25 bucks a week to seniors and 10 bucks to underclassmen. The school relies totally on donations and already, 40 grand has been raised.

The principal, Ramone Davenport, explains.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAMONE DAVENPORT, PRINCIPAL, DOHN COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL: You have students who haven't been here in three or four days, coming in, walking into the building today on time. We are hoping that this incentive will get those kids off the streets and into a school where they can be taught a skill to be productive in society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: At first, I really hated this idea. Kids should only be paid for chores or light entertainment, like yodeling. I love yodeling. Worse, it speaks to a culture where hard work is divorced from long-term goal -- delayed gratification is officially dead.

But then I changed my mind. First, we aren't paying for this. It's private, which instantly makes it better than all those government programs that triple the amount of spending in near decades only to result in worst test scores.

Two, I pay to get kids to attend school if it will keep them off my block. Yes, it's bribery, but one man's bribe is another man's untrampled azaleas. I love my azaleas. I named them Kimberly.

Finally, let's just admit that school really isn't just about education. It's about keeping brats busy and out of trouble until they are old enough to work for me.

You know, I didn't learn much in school. But if I didn't go, I would have ended up with a dead end job, living in isolation, riddled with envy and shame, i.e., working at Media Matters.

(LAUGHTER)

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Great.

GUTFELD: I wrote that whole thing just so I could end it on Media Matters.

GUILFOYLE: I could tell.

GUTFELD: Yes.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: He works backwards.

GUTFELD: Yes, I work backwards -- the backward principle.

PERINO: Talent.

GUTFELD: OK, should students be paid to go to school? These are poor kids from poor homes. Eric?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: I like everything about your thesis, except for the part where it says they're paid by donors and Federal Workforce Investment Act.

GUTFELD: Hmm.

GUILFOYLE: Hmm, there's a catch.

GUTFELD: But they said, according to the article I read, all of the stuff, paying for kids to go to school were from donations.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: If it's all private money, knock yourself out. Pay them to go. Pay them for grades, even better.

How about this? Pay the teachers for higher test score. That's not a bad idea.

GUILFOYLE: But sometimes that happens, and then there's a lot of scandals with the test scores and fabrications, alternations. All of the above. True.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: You know, you got to look at the cost of having these kids out of school and on the streets, not only the immediate cost, but sometimes crime and others, but long-term. If they get through school and they get at least a high school equivalency or high school diploma, there is a chance they can find work. Other than that, they have none and would generally be a cost to society in crime or in government payments or something else.

So, I'm not so sure a charitable investment in getting kids to come to school is not a bad one, because otherwise, the cost of society will be enormous, I think.

GUTFELD: Dana, you were actually paid not to go to school because you were --

PERINO: I wanted to go to school so much I'd get up at 4:00 in the morning and I'd be ready to go with my lunch box.

GUILFOYLE: I believe that.

GUTFELD: Why am I not surprised?

PERINO: When first heard this, I thought it was government money. I was like, oh, this has gone too far. I showed up -- I went to school because I wanted to learn. There was an eagerness to learn.

There is a disconnect and it's been over time and we can have a who discussion about that. That book from Crown Forum, that Charles Murray has just put out about the decline of white America and talking about the sort of the one percent versus 99 percent there, is interesting on this.

But education is an honor and a privilege. I had -- I had the privilege of getting to travel around world. There are kids everywhere -- they would do anything to be able to go to a school like we have in America.

GUILFOYLE: We don't do it here. Why?

PERINO: In fact, Usama bin Laden, it was just revealed, he actually told his kids, hey, don't go into the family business. You'd be better off if you go to America and get educated and make something of yourself.

GUTFELD: Wow.

PERINO: If you look at, if this was China, can you imagine them having this conversation? They probably watch this and go, really? No wonder they're not going to be a superpower anymore.

BECKEL: You want to say something, because I got to follow --

GUILFOYLE: Yes, I want to say what about motivation then and incentives? You either have it in you and you appreciate what you have in this country, which is better than any other place in world, and take advantage of it. It's frustrating that now we have to pay kids to go to school. Want to do something in your life.

This whole entitlement thing where everybody feels they should have, you know, the fancy house, this, that. Work for it. Like the immigrants that came over here did.

BECKEL: They don't think that way. A lot of kids are kids of single mothers, from poor areas who don't see America as the American Dream. The fact some kids may see it exactly the opposite.

And so, you got to look at this thing. Another country -- yes, but other countries, they don't have the rampant rate of single parent, poor people where the lion's share of these kids come from. That is a distinction.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: If you offer it that way, Bob, eventually, you get used to it. You get used to subtleties.

GUILFOYLE: You expect it.

BOLLING: When the donors theory or model runs out, then what? Then they turn to the government and say, look, we've been paying these kids to go to school, they expect it now. So, now, it's going to end being --

GUILFOYLE: It becomes a crutch, pay me to go to work. Pay me to take a shower. Pay you to make the bed.

(LAUGHTER)

BECKEL: There is a school in the Washington metropolitan area where two wealthy people said, if you graduate from high school, we will pay your way through college.

PERINO: But remember Peter Thiel who said if you drop out of the lame colleges that you are going to and you come up with a great business idea, I'll give you $150,000.

BECKEL: But the interesting thing about this was they did offer to pay the kids, their whole college education, which is an incredible offer. And it was amazing to me how many of them, who were from poor areas who didn't think they were going to go to college, actually excelled and went to college.

Now, maybe it's an incentive, you have to bribe people to do it, whatever you want to call it. But in this case, at least, it shows some potential to work. For every one of those, they may come back to the community and make a lot --

PERINO: I would be -- OK. Let's do this program. But at the same time, we need to deal with that core issue that you mentioned. We have got a whole generation of people that now are likely to -- this is a cycle and we'll have many more.

GUTFELD: Yes. It's got to be better than what we're doing now. Anything is better than what we're doing now, right?

PERINO: I don't know. My friends' kids go to school.

GUTFELD: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Let me say again, a lot of this is responsibility, this dependency society. A lot of us on the left deserve some responsibility for this because we thought we're doing the right thing. It's got to be undone. We understand that. But it's got to be undone carefully.

And I hope as we look forward to it, we look back and say, we made some mistakes here, but it was for good reasons. Not bad reasons.

GUTFELD: All right.

GUILFOYLE: Excellent, Bob.

BECKEL: Thank you.

GUTFELD: So something -- it was well-said.

GUILFOYLE: It really was.

PERINO: Poetic.

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The Five, hosted by Bob Beckel, Eric Bolling, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino, Juan Williams, and Andrea Tantaros, airs on Weekdays at 5PM ET on Fox News Channel.