Outrageous New Plan Punishes Welfare Families for Kids' Poor School Performance

Rant 100

report cardI think it's safe to assume that for the vast majority of parents, watching your child struggle in school is an incredibly stressful experience -- more stressful for the parents than the kids, in my opinion. So I'm appalled by the bill Tennessee legislators are attempting to pass which would cut the welfare benefits of parents with kids who don't meet attendance and academic requirements. How exactly is making a family's home even more of a stressful environment supposed to help kids do better in school?!

It's all part of the ongoing public education blame game: Some parents say teachers aren't doing enough, others -- both parents and teachers -- say there's only so much teachers can do; parental involvement is the key to a successful education. Seems like the purpose of this bill is to force that parental involvement. But why don't legislators understand that making a low-income family's situation WORSE will make more parental involvement virtually impossible?

Perhaps the powers-that-be assume parents on welfare aren't willing to take responsibility for their children's education. Maybe they believe the "welfare mother" stereotype to be the rule, not the exception. I still don't get how dumping the pressure of maintaining an entire family's income on a kid's back can be considered an "incentive."

Maybe these "underperforming" kids' parents can't afford to take them to the doctor on a regular basis and they have underlying health issues. Maybe there's no one to help them with their homework at night because their single mom is working the late shift at one of her several low-paying jobs. Maybe what these families need is compassion, not threats.

Do you think it's fair to cut parents' welfare benefits based on their kids' performance in school?


Image via amboo who?/Flickr

education, elementary school, family, grades, in the news, homework


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MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

As a public school teacher, I think that poor academics should not necessarily be tied to welfare. However, there are definitely a few things that should be!  Maybe this isn't the case in some areas, but where I am, I can tell you that some of my students were born solely to be "meal tickets" for their parents.  You'd be surprised how many teachers think the following (it may not be PC, but it's true!):

Dock $$ from welfare checks for every single time:

-Your gets written up to the office or suspended. (I can guarantee kids' behavior would improve because their parents would actually give a darn.)

-You refuse to come pick up your seriously ill or suspended child. (No joke, it happens weekly where I am!)

-Your child is truant or you fail to call your child in sick. (We seriously have a family whose mother just decided "My kids aren't going to school on Mondays," and did not send them, call in, etc., until our social worker paid her a visit.)

-Your child is brought back on the bus because nobody was home let him/her in and you don't pick them up right away. (We're a public elementary school, not a daycare, it is not our job and we do not get paid to watch your child after school hours. We've had kids there past 6pm before!)

nonmember avatar Tipperz@gmail

I am going to ask Ms Roberts, have you ever been in a situation where you needed public assistance. i couldnt imagine someone like me, a person that has been there and is now on food assistance and medical, thing like that. if what we all want is for the good of our kids, why would we put them in our financial problems. that is all the parents business and something the children must not have any partake in it. and the suggestions you gave shows how delusional you must be and what makes it even sadder is that i know you are not the only one that thinks these things would make a positive change in academics.

Caera Caera


Especially the part about attendance. If the kid isn't showing up, OF COURSE that's the parents' fault, and OF COURSE the kid is going to do poorly. 

Nothing motivates adults better than money.

LOVE this idea. 

Mommi... MommietoJB

Its a good idea. If your getting welfare then your child should be getting good grades or atleast pass their classes. I know several mothers that do not work and are all on welfare they dont give a crap about their kids education, they continue to have more kids they cant afford in the first place.It would also break the cycle of welfare families. I hope they bring this to California.

virgo... virgomom1988

thats just rediculous i cant belive that they would go there with that not everyone can have tudors for there kids or what if there sick and cant be there all the time i was a very sick child lots of food allergies which didnt clear up til i was much older my mom was a single mom and needed assitance to make it through sometimes you just do it dosent make you bad or a non motivational person. in any case if they had done that then we would have been suffering more so thats just stupid and i think all you ladies whom think its a great idea go ahead with your snide remarks you obviously havent been there and hope if you are ever in that situation you get judge as badly as what your doing to other ppl. and @ the school teacher mrs.roberts your just an idiot and should stop posting i guess you have never needed assitance either wow just wow.


jessa... jessasmamma

I am on the fence about this, but leaning towards going with it more than against it. I guess because I think that if the kids are sent to school and have to get passing grades - hopefully that will motivate them to continue their education. The more education you have, the better jobs you get, the more money you get paid = you have less of a chance of needing/relying on public assistance.

I am not stupid, this won't be the case with every kid or every family. But I can see how it COULD help.

A coworker of mine has a huge problem with this because the kids shouldn't be responsible for making sure there's food on the table. I get that mind set. But in my opinion - parents are responsible for making sure their children go to school, do their homework, etc. So really, this is just making the parents be more responsible.

japan... japanmommy

Yeah, no. Too much stress on a kid, find another way to help kids learn but not by threatening the food they eat it rent they need to live. I did horrible in school and worrying about my family's financial situation would have only made it worse.

nonmember avatar Raynn

What about the kids who do poorly in school who's parents are not on welfare? I firmly believe in parental accountability when it comes to attendance and academics, however as a parent who receives food stamps because I work at a low paying job, I still find time to make sure my kids get to school on time, get picked up on time, do their homework on time and get any extra help they need from me. I also happen to know many parents who are in a much better financial situation who do not do these things. Maybe we ought to garnish their wages?

jalaz77 jalaz77

There is NO excuse for kids to be failing. How hard is it to parent your child? One would think that a person on gvt assis would push, encourage their child to do better than yourself. I don't care if you are on welfare or not, a kid should be a priority. So yes I do agree with the cuts.

To the people bashing MsRoberts, reread her post, this is what she sees first hand, she never said "everybody on assistance." I see people on assistance come to the ER all the time and you would not believe how the majority of these people who get free money prioritize, not all but a lot!! It makes me sad.

nonmember avatar andie

@Raynn, the difference is that the taxpayers are not footing the bill for the parents who are in a better financial situation. I don't think this is a good idea, generally, but I do think that maybe welfare and school attendance should be tied together somehow. Not grades, though.

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