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Families' welfare could get cut if kids flunk

Posted by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 8:13 PM
  • 18 Replies

Some lawmakers in Tennessee think they have the answer to helping poor students who are struggling in school: Reduce welfare payments to their families.

 

How would it work? If a poor kid fails a grade, that family's welfare benefits could be cut by up to 30%. The theory is that the threat of less money would prompt the parents to pay attention to their child's learning and education.

 

"It's really just something to try to get parents involved with their kids," Sen. Stacey Campfield, who sponsored the legislation, told the Tennessean newspaper. "We have to do something."

 

An amended version of the bill -- which added tweaks such as limiting maximum penalties to parents who don't attend parent-teacher conferences -- passed a state Senate committee earlier this week, according to the publication. Special-needs students would be exempt.

 

Research supports Campfield's premise that parental involvement will close the learning gap between the haves and have-nots. A 2007 Harvard Family Research Project study found that parental involvement for children in low-income families made a big difference in achievement.

 

But it remains to be seen if the threat of lower welfare payments could spur impoverished parents to action -- or even if teachers would fail those students, if they knew that could mean even more troubles at home.

 

One thing is certain: Low-income students are at a huge disadvantage when compared with kids from wealthier families. Poor children often grow up with a "word gap," meaning they hear fewer spoken words from adults each day than do children from middle- or high-income homes.

 

"In fact, by the time a child growing up in a low-income household reaches their fourth birthday, they will have heard 30 million fewer words than their peers in middle- and high-income households," according to the Mayors Challenge from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

 

The charitable organization earlier this month awarded $5 million to Providence, R.I., for a program that seeks to close the word gap with young children.

 

Tennessee's push comes as the state grapples with a rise in the number of families receiving welfare. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, welfare recipients in Tennessee have jumped 14% since 2007, when the recession started.

 

Campbell wrote on his blog on Tuesday that parents would have an "out" if they enroll the kids in tutoring, which he says is "free in every school I know of," or if they set up a tutoring program. Parents could also enroll themselves in a parenting course or attend multiple parent-teacher conferences to get their kids on track.

 

He added, "If passed this could be a great step in ending generational poverty caused by lack of education."

by on Mar. 29, 2013 at 8:13 PM
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Replies (1-10):
partingwhisper
by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 1:55 AM

this is simply sheer idiocy. not all children will always pass their classes. they should not lose having solid meals because of it. 

cowboygal
by Gold Member on Mar. 30, 2013 at 2:12 AM
And a lot of people may have both parents working and still not making ends meet and need the food stamps or single moms struggling to work and cannot always drop work and go to the meetings and such.
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KristenFowles
by Silver Member on Mar. 30, 2013 at 2:13 AM
I completely disagree.
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carlyshort
by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 5:37 AM
That burden should not be placed on children..no way.
I may not agree with welfare, but putting children in that kind of situation is sure to stress them out making the situation that much worse. Can you imagine the guilt they may have? Because you know some parents would be like, " we lost our food money because you failed".

Nope. Disagree with this.
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ScrChk23
by Amanda on Mar. 30, 2013 at 8:15 AM
My head hurts just trying to figure out the logic behind this.
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Cherish77
by Cherish on Mar. 30, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Thats lame sauce, thats the government using their puny little brains for your tax dollars

NDADanceMom
by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM
I work with kids who are on state aid and are having trouble passing. The parents are often doing the best they can. Making the child responsible for family finances is sick.
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SticksnStones
by Bronze Member on Mar. 30, 2013 at 9:30 AM

 Wow.  Leave it to TN.

flprincessmom
by Member on Mar. 30, 2013 at 11:57 AM

 This is disgusting that they pigs at the top would even think of doing such a thing!!!  As long as it does not effect the food on their tables or roof over their heads they don't give a fuck......terrible....tsk tsk

momdoes
by Platinum Member on Mar. 30, 2013 at 2:44 PM

BUMP!

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