So first, thank you for both the response and the encouragement. Genuinely (from a glass half full kind of guy). And you are right. Even if I have a teacher’s common uneasiness about turning grades into currency, it’s counter-productive and hypocritical to deny that the effect happens at all. It’s certainly futile to try to eliminate the monetary effect altogether, which is what schools try to do. All that does is further devalue the work that students actually create.
Interestingly, on the ‘students sharing work on-line’ angle, many many students already do share their work, in particular on the fan-fiction sites. And they receive all manner of reward, not to mention actually become better writers for it. Of course, those sites, like so many of the places students share work on-line, are rarely encouraged in school, and rarely fit into the curriculum and assessment framework.