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

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