Starving Poor Kids for Bad Grades Is a Completely Horrifying Idea

School child

Hungry? Sorry, honey, you’re failing algebra, so no groceries for you this month! Stacey Campfield, a Republican state Senator in Tennessee, introduced legislation this week that would slash welfare benefits to parents whose kids are getting bad grades in school.

The thinking? Senator Campfield somehow imagines this would force parents to take an active role in their kids’ education. “Nothing motivates people like money,” he explained. Seriously? What an arrogant jerk! As if hunger isn't "motivating" enough. Poor kids need all the help they can get. Oh, and don’t think that he’s pushing for children to truly excel. “We’re not asking children to re-write the Magna Carta,” Campfield said. “A D-minus gets you through.”

A D-minus? So then what’s the point? If you’re really worried about poor children getting a leg up in the world by doing well in school, a D-minus isn’t going to cut it. This seems way more about marginalizing and penalizing welfare recipients than about truly helping poor kids. Why not develop some programs to incent and inspire good grades, if that’s really his concern? Taking money for basic necessities away from poverty-stricken families isn’t going to help ANYONE do better in class.

Tennessee state Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle agrees. The bill would “stack the deck against at-risk children. How does Sen. Campfield expect a child to do his homework when there is no food on the dinner table?”

How, indeed?

And please keep in mind we’re not exactly talking about big bucks to start with: The Sentinel reports that, according to a state youth official, a single mom with two kids receives just $185 a month. Tennessee already cuts that by 20 percent if those kids don’t attend school; this new proposed legislation would increase that cut to 30 percent for kids who don't meet the grade requirements.

“For a long time parents have gotten away with doing absolutely nothing to help their children,” said Campfield, who by the way doesn't have kids himself. Wow yeah, let’s cut this single mom’s less than $50 a week to less than $35 -- that will really help!

Think of it another way: What other group of people is shamed or penalized -- or worse yet, starved! -- like this if their kids don’t do well in school? Rich and middle class kids get bad grades too. What if middle-class and wealthy families had, say, certain tax breaks taken away if their kids did poorly in school? Imagine having to send a report card in along with your tax return ... Hey, how else are we going to force lazy rich people to take an active interest in their kids’ education?!

Welfare is supposed to provide assistance to those in need -- and no one needs more help than a hungry child whose parent, for whatever reason, is struggling to put food on the table. Please, let's not make young kids responsible for their families' welfare, okay?

What do you think of welfare cuts based on the kids' bad grades?


Image via ElizabethAlbert/Flickr

education, politics, moms matter, discrimination


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nonmember avatar coco'smom158

I think it's idiotic. Some of these politicians need to get their heads out of their asses.

nonmember avatar kaerae

If a kid is flunking out of school and the parents refuse to show up at school and work with them to help, the family should be referred to CPS so the child can get what they need. Leaving them with a parent who won't parent and starving them to boot is sick.

kelti... kelticmom

And then what happens when the parent, who obviously won't parent in the first place, becomes enraged that their benefits are being cut, and takes it out on the child? What then?

Bloom... Bloomie79

Where are all the vocal conservatives to defend this? After all this afternoon it was just fine to shout down a grieving father during a prepared speech, is this really any worse?

amiec... amiecanflie

Wrong wrong wrong!! ugh, this whole thing makes me sick. I agree, if a child is constantly a problem, getting bad grades and aprents refuse to get involved, then yes, let's have someone step in and figure out the problem, not make these kids(who by the way, could have developmental problems or could just be slow learners!) have to "carry their weight" and put their own food on the table? 

the4m... the4mutts

I want to ask 1 question, arent food stamps & welfare SEPERATE? So it would be money for housing or bills that would be cut, not food off the table, right?

Its wrong either way. But I have never had experience with welfare, though I know people on it. And what the proposal is saying, is bad enough, and (if I am correct) it doesnt need to be made to sound any more awful than it is, by tossing fake starving kids into the mix. Just be realistic, the guy is a dick, but if welfare & foodstamps are seperate, hes not starving kids. More like making them homeless, or forcing them to live with no heat in the winter, and no weather approperiate clothing to wear

the4m... the4mutts

Wow, my spell checker was off. I slaughtered that comment. Oops! LoL

Jai Hutto

What is with the lawmakers in this country trying to do things like this to the poor? Taking away food for grades? Just because someone is poor does not make them any less of a citizen. It just baffles me that we've spent all this money on WAR but when it comes to actually HELPING the less fortunate they're all of a sudden trying to nickel and dime the deficit. Morons.

nonmember avatar Myturn

Yeah. Cuz hungry kids will learn so much better!!

Angi Watson Dudas

I agree 10000% with Jal Hutto! We have no problem with the non-stop spending on warfare, but spending money on helping our needy....then there is suddenly A LOT of hand ringing and pleading poor.

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