Bad grades = No Welfare Benefits

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Indianapolis, IN

#1 Jan 28, 2013
A Tennessee state senator has introduced legislation that would reduce welfare benefits for parents if their children fail to make “satisfactory academic progress” in school, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Knoxville Republican Stacey Campfield says his proposed law — SB132 — is a step toward “breaking the cycle of poverty” because it would motivate parents on the dole to become more involved in helping their children learn.

“We have done little to hold them accountable for their child’s performance,” Campfield says on his Tennessee political blog, Camp4u.“What my bill would do is put some responsibility on parents for their child’s performance.”

The bill would affect the state’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program. Under current law, parents or guardians of children who receive benefits can see their benefits cut by 20 percent if a child fails to attend school. Campfield’s bill would additionally require that children make “satisfactory academic progress.” If they don’t, recipients could see up to a 30 percent cut in benefits.

For students without disabilities, satisfactory academic progress would be defined as both advancing to the next grade and meeting minimum requirements on math and reading components of certain standardized tests.

“The state can not [sic] continue to support the generational cycle of poverty,” Campfield also wrote.“Just because parents may have quit school does not mean it is acceptable if their child does. Parents are responsible to make sure their kids are ready for school and that they get an education.”

Campfield explained his thinking to the News Sentinel by way of an analogy. Success in school rests on a “three-legged stool.” The three legs are schools, teachers and parents, he argued, and Tennessee has gone to considerable lengths to increase the quality of both schools and teachers.
Now is the time for the state to address the “third leg,” he said “ parents."

“This bill is giving them motivation to do more to help their children learn in school,” the senator said.“If the family doesn’t care if the child goes to school or does well in school, the odds of that child getting out of poverty are pretty low.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis flatly opposed the bill proposed by his Republican colleague.
“How does Sen. Campfield expect a child to do his homework when there is no food on the dinner table?” Kyle asked.

Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, also expressed misgivings. Such a law could increase hardships for parents and children who are already facing difficulties, she said. It would also burden the state with more paperwork.

“The maximum benefit for a mother with two children is $185 a month,” O’Neal told the News Sentinel.“That’s already low. If you take $60 plus dollars away, you’re just further limiting people who already have extremely few resources.”

“The challenge is that there are many children who may be doing their best and just have not been diagnosed for special ed or they may be in schools that have failed them,” she added.
Mina

Indianapolis, IN

#2 Jan 28, 2013
You mean you actually expect them to interact with their children and like acknowledge them? WHY?! Seriously though, if your ass can barely read and dropped out to be a hoe, gang member, thief, drug user, general deficit to society, how are you going to help your child with homework? I hope they are providing tutoring because it's gonna be a lot of hungry (hungrier) and missing kids. I suppose the responsible people receiving benefits aren't worried.
FashionistaChica

Indianapolis, IN

#3 Jan 28, 2013
I support the idea but it pretends that a lot of these parents of truant kids or poor performing kids give a shit about their children in the first place.

If they didn't care about their children's academic performance and truancy with higher benefits, they won't care about them simply because they have fewer benefits. The only ones who will suffer are the children.

ETA: He talks about this approach being a three-legged stool but in a lot of these areas, the 3rd leg just isn't there and you shouldn't bother expecting it to be. You can't incentivize bad parents into being good parents, unfortunately.
Amy

Evansville, IN

#4 Jan 28, 2013
Wow... This just hurts the kids. Never going to work.
Wow

Indianapolis, IN

#5 Jan 28, 2013
All this law will do is increase homelessness and the crime rate..mark my words.
L I C K S H O T S

Indianapolis, IN

#7 Jan 28, 2013
UGH
Because that makes PERFECT SENSE!

I'm all for being accountable but it just seem one sided.

Too poor to really have support, too poor to go to a good school but unless you do well, I will cut your benefits of poor kids who are already POOR?

SHUT UP
If we held rich folks accountable for their dumbass kids, they would all be in jail or rehab.
L I C K S H O T S

Indianapolis, IN

#8 Jan 28, 2013
FashionistaChica wrote:
they won't care about them simply because they have fewer benefits. The only ones who will suffer are the children.
AND THAT IS THE POINT!!!
The children who are suffering will suffer more.
I agree

United States

#9 Jan 28, 2013
Yes, sounds like a great idea, but there will be one family whose benefits get taken because their child didn't make good grades. This is a family who works hard to raise their children right, and that one kid with special needs doesn't pass ISTEP or fails some classes even though parents have done their best. That will be one of the sad cases we hear about.
Goober

Evansville, IN

#10 Jan 28, 2013
I say knock all the welfare mooches in the heads and then pile them up and burn them. It will keep us all warm for the entire winter. Of course the smell would be terrible.
real talk

United States

#11 Jan 28, 2013
Boo who, take care of your damn kids.I think its a great bill. Would also like to see drug testing for parents on there also. Good job Tennessee.
Mrs Hubert

Indianapolis, IN

#12 Jan 28, 2013
If you're receiving government assistance, where a significant amount is based on how many school age kids you have, then yes, there needs to be conditions set. The people in TN aren't paying you money so you can sit by and let your child do nothing.. Most people receiving assistance this wont be a problem for.

I'll tell you. I grew up poor. We were even on assistance once when my father got hurt on the job. So I understand. However, we NEVEr missed a day in school without a valid reason. Our grades were right and we were properly disciplined. To say that someone on the system can't do there things is preposterous. Sure I'm from a two parent home (which doesn't mean much if they child isn't properly looked after). But single parents can (and most do) do it everyday as well.
wow

Princeton, IN

#13 Jan 28, 2013
So a kid would have to go hungry or do with out because of there grades sounds tuck up and sad
April C

Indianapolis, IN

#14 Jan 29, 2013
In a perfect world, this idea would be great, but what about the children who want to learn but under certain circumstances do not do well?
Amy

Evansville, IN

#15 Jan 29, 2013
What about kids who have special needs? Are dyslexic? Have problems because of already poor nutrition & diet? Have trouble reading/ writing because of poor vision or hearing?

Does no one feel any sympathy for children anymore? Children do not pick their parents. They cannot help the situation they are in! Do you think the kids getting poor grades want to be getting poor grades? This is basically the state being bullies.
What

Indianapolis, IN

#16 Jan 29, 2013
So they want to put an end to supporting generations after generations of poverty, by creating even more poverty?!!
Since poverty is a creation, if they are not talking about ending it all together, they need to shut the hell up. This dumbass law is not the answer.
Patriot

Evansville, IN

#17 Jan 29, 2013
You would be surprised how quickly people find their work boots whenever they get hungry.

As for the children, take them away at birth and place them with loving families. They sure aren't getting any love at home.
real talk

United States

#18 Jan 29, 2013
Some of you sound so pathetic. Number one it is not the governments place to take care of your kids. So if there are guidelines your ass better follow them. The bill is trying to end the cycle of generation after generation living off of the system. If my kids are hungry I'm going to do what ever I need to do to put food on the table. And if you can't do that maybe you don't need them. REAL TALK!!!
LiveMyLife

Indianapolis, IN

#19 Jan 29, 2013
Simply showing up for school each day may improve their performance. Making it clear that disrupting the class is unacceptable may improve their performance. Going to a parent teacher conference and demonstrating to your child that education is important may improve their performance. Sending your child to school with a belly full of oatmeal may improve their performance. Telling them to turn off the TV and read a book.

You get the point. It's the little things and they add up. I feel bad for public servants and educators on this matter. Trying to engage people and get them to parent and care about their children must feel like a losing battle.

If they want to help they need to add mandatory parenting classes to the mix and parents should receive grades and be required to demonstrate continuous improvement there as well.

It isn't all economic. In many many cases parents are simply failing.
be real!!!

Evansville, IN

#20 Jan 29, 2013
Anything is better than nothing at this point. Welfare has become generational maybe if the children of the welfare people had to get an education they may realize they can become more than the "role models" that did nothing with the life they had.
Finn

United States

#21 Jan 29, 2013
People keep saying children will go hungry if they do not receive their welfare benefits, but I have to ask...if a parent will let their child go hungry should they even be raising the child to begin with? When will parents be held responsible for the children they CHOSE to bring into the world? Education is the best way to get out of poverty. Too many parents don't give a darn if their kids get an education or not. We cannot force them to care, but we can hit them in the pocketbook and hope they see the light. Maybe the government should start taxing people when they have children instead of giving them tax breaks. Perhaps that would keep the irresponsible people who cannot afford to raise a child from breeding.

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