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Tennessee bill: Welfare benefits depend on child’s school performance

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Tennessee bill: Welfare benefits depend on child’s school performance

A new piece of legislation, if passed, will penalize low-income families in Tennessee by reducing their welfare benefits if their child performs poorly in school.

Sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville)and Rep. Vance Dennis (R-Savannah), the bill“requires the reduction of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) payments for parents or caretakers of TANF recipients whose children fail to maintain satisfactory progress in school.”

Should a low-income family’s child not meet satisfactory levels in the subject areas of mathematics and reading or language arts, the family’s welfare benefits will be reduced by 20 percent.

The legislation (Senate Bill 132, House Bill 261) applies to low-income families, with no mention of penalties to middle or high-income families whose children perform poorly in school.

Rep. Dennis told the House Health Subcommittee the measure applies to “parents who do nothing,” reports Knoxnews.com.  Dennis described the bill as “a carrot and stick approach.”

Bill branded ‘discriminatory’

Tennessee state representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) calls the bill “discriminatory.”

“It’s just one more way to punish families who have fallen on hard times,” Johnson told theGrio. “I don’t believe for a second this will be anything to improve a child’s education.”

As a high school special education teacher, Johnson said this kind of bill is not what at-risk students need.

“To add the responsibility of the family budget on these kids, it’s not going to help these kids.  It’s not going to move them forward,” Johnson said.

“[The bill] sets up a terrible relationship between families and educators,” Johnson continued.  ”It sets up animosity between school and home.”

Johnson recommends after school or weekend programs, such as “community schools” where parents spend time with their children and can see what they are doing and how they are doing in school.

Representative Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory) told theGrio this is just one example of Tennessee legislature that is “trying to set back the working class people.”

Amendments may or may not make a difference

Amendments have been made to the original legislation to exclude students with learning disabilities and those who have an individualized education program (IEP) from being penalized for not maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Instead, special education students will be measured on school attendance.

“There are no amendments that will make this bill okay,” Johnson said. “There just aren’t.”

Further amendments also provide four ways the reduction can be restored once it is applied to a family’s payments.  Attending two parent teacher conferences, eight hours of parenting classes, enrolling the child in a tutoring program, or enrolling the child in summer school are the available options.

“There’s all kinds of loopholes,” Rep. Turner said, noting that homeschooling is addressed in the Senate version but is not addressed in the House bill.  ”No Democrats will vote for the bill.”

The House Health Committee, of which Johnson, Dennis, and Turner are members, is set to vote on the bill April 3.

If passed, SB 132 will take effect on July 1, 2013, just in time for the 2013-2014 school year.

theGrio.com reached out to Sen. Campfield and Rep. Dennis for comment, but our calls have not yet been returned

by on Apr. 1, 2013 at 7:06 PM
Replies (31-40):
TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:29 PM
1 mom liked this

 Having trouble with algebra? So sorry, no food for you this month.

 Incidently, the only D I ever made in my entire life was in Algebra.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:31 PM

 

Quoting deadlights86:

Well that's not fair what about kids with learning disabilities will they be exempt?

  According to this article, they are exempt.

deadlights86
by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:35 PM


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 

Quoting deadlights86:

Well that's not fair what about kids with learning disabilities will they be exempt?

  According to this article, they are exempt.

That's good and bad cause they are going to try and make it really hard to prove that the kid has a learning disability which in the end the child suffers.

Fullmoon_Goddes
by Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:38 PM
1 mom liked this
Mine was statistics...

Ugh


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 Having trouble with algebra? So sorry, no food for you this month.


 Incidently, the only D I ever made in my entire life was in Algebra.


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Lizard_Lina
by Silver Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:39 PM
I really think thats the intent. Low income families tend to live in low performing school areas. It's that extra push. Though I can totally see parents taking it out on their kids that they don't get enough welfare.


Quoting pamelax3:

IMO this is could go either way! I agree thr child does not need to be stressed, but it will give the parent a reason to be involved with their childs school! And maybe a start to breaking the pa cycle

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ambermario4ever
by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:40 PM

This is the stupidest thing I have ever read.

Lorik1969
by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:42 PM
1 mom liked this
It's not always about irresponsible parents. Both of my sons go to a tutor, to the tune of almost $400 a month. Without tutoring, my 10th grader would probably be failing math. High school math today is like college math 20 years ago. I sucked at it back then and it's even worse now, so I'm no help to him. The younger one (7th grade) needs help with reading comprehension, something I wouldn't even know if we hadn't had him tested privately as a small child because the school failed to properly diagnose him. I do all of this to insure they get the best possible education but it takes lots of $$! We aren't loaded by any means. One of my cars is 12 years old and we go without a lot of extra's to do it, but you can't get blood from a rock.
Instead of taking children from their parents, how about improving the schools? Should a child be taken away because he has a learning disorder thst was never diagnosed or isn't being properly treated? Because the parents can't help with homework anymore and can't afford a tutor? How is forcing kids into an institution good for society? The whole thing sounds pretty cold to me.


Quoting Suzy_Sunshine:

I think it should be paired with free residential schooling for children who do not perform adequately at school. 

If their parents are not responsible, then their is absolutely no justification for the government to require me to pay their parents to care for them.

If we have to hire caregivers for these children then let's employ professionals who will do the job!


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

This is such a terrible idea. 


On a side note, I find it really sad that people are suggesting ways like this to force parents to be responsible about their children's education.  I really don't think it would help much.  Irresponsible parents will still be that way.  It's too much work for some to step up to the plate.



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Lorik1969
by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:45 PM
Or parents will push to have the child diagnosed with something. Either way the child ends up screwed.


Quoting deadlights86:


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 


Quoting deadlights86:

Well that's not fair what about kids with learning disabilities will they be exempt?

  According to this article, they are exempt.

That's good and bad cause they are going to try and make it really hard to prove that the kid has a learning disability which in the end the child suffers.


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Suzy_Sunshine
by Silver Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:49 PM

You raise some worthwhile points. However we are not talking about high acheivement we are talking about children who fail to meet the bare minimum standards. If you did not work then you would have the time to brush up on the subjects troubling your children. Parents can help by ensuring that their children take advantage of the myriad free services available to poor children and by simply ensuring that their children do their work. 

I think we need to stop blaming the schools when families are failing.

Quoting Lorik1969:

It's not always about irresponsible parents. Both of my sons go to a tutor, to the tune of almost $400 a month. Without tutoring, my 10th grader would probably be failing math. High school math today is like college math 20 years ago. I sucked at it back then and it's even worse now, so I'm no help to him. The younger one (7th grade) needs help with reading comprehension, something I wouldn't even know if we hadn't had him tested privately as a small child because the school failed to properly diagnose him. I do all of this to insure they get the best possible education but it takes lots of $$! We aren't loaded by any means. One of my cars is 12 years old and we go without a lot of extra's to do it, but you can't get blood from a rock.
Instead of taking children from their parents, how about improving the schools? Should a child be taken away because he has a learning disorder thst was never diagnosed or isn't being properly treated? Because the parents can't help with homework anymore and can't afford a tutor? How is forcing kids into an institution good for society? The whole thing sounds pretty cold to me.


Quoting Suzy_Sunshine:

I think it should be paired with free residential schooling for children who do not perform adequately at school. 

If their parents are not responsible, then their is absolutely no justification for the government to require me to pay their parents to care for them.

If we have to hire caregivers for these children then let's employ professionals who will do the job!


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

This is such a terrible idea. 


On a side note, I find it really sad that people are suggesting ways like this to force parents to be responsible about their children's education.  I really don't think it would help much.  Irresponsible parents will still be that way.  It's too much work for some to step up to the plate.




LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Apr. 1, 2013 at 9:57 PM
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I do not agree with removing a child from their home because they are doing poorly in school. Doing so to the children from families on PA is... Wow.

Quoting Suzy_Sunshine:

Not exactly. I am saying that the children should attend residential schools regardless of the parent's assistance. If the parents continue to receive assistance it should be for themselves alone. 

Quoting LauraKW:

Are you saying if the parents are on PA and the children are not doing well in school those kids should be removed and placed in residential schools for the parents to continue to get PA?



Quoting Suzy_Sunshine:

I think it should be paired with free residential schooling for children who do not perform adequately at school. 

If their parents are not responsible, then their is absolutely no justification for the government to require me to pay their parents to care for them.

If we have to hire caregivers for these children then let's employ professionals who will do the job!


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

This is such a terrible idea. 



On a side note, I find it really sad that people are suggesting ways like this to force parents to be responsible about their children's education.  I really don't think it would help much.  Irresponsible parents will still be that way.  It's too much work for some to step up to the plate.



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