State Sen. Stacey Campfield has proposed legislation that would cut welfare benefits to parents whose children fail to make "satisfactory academic progress" in school, a move he says should inspire parents to take a more active role in helping students learn.
While the Knoxville Republican says SB132 is a step toward "breaking the cycle of poverty," Linda O'Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, says it could make life more difficult for parents and children who are already struggling.
Campfield said in an interview that the best way to "break the cycle of poverty" is through education and a child's success in schooling rests on a "three-legged stool" - teachers, schools and parents.(Note: His blog post on the bill is HERE.)
He said Tennessee has already embarked on education reforms designed to improve the quality of teachers and the quality of schools. There should also be a focus on the "third leg," parents, he said.
"We've set the tone (through legislation) to push and improve teachers and schools," Campfield said. "Now is the time to push those parents. This bill is giving them motivation to do more to help their children learn in school."
"If the family doesn't care if the child goes to school or does well in school, the odds of that child getting out of poverty are pretty low," the senator said.
See, if we just cut benefits to the stupid poor families, the parents (who must be poor because they choose to be poor and lazy) will simply stop being poor and lazy because otherwise they'll starve. Problem solved! Hey, the problem is clearly poor parents on welfare don't work anyway, so they have all the time in the world to tutor their kids and make them get better grades.
So your kids are having problems learning because they are hungry all time time from being poor? Better make sure Junior aces that test or the family gets cut off and goes hungry. No pressure there, son. Just choose to succeed, that's all! After all, why should Tennessee taxpayers have to worry about schoolkids eating and stuff anyway. Just punish them until they are motivated to stop being poor, and the problem resolves itself. If the difference between the family having enough to get by and the family crashing and burning is the little guy's next math test, well by gosh you'd better make sure you poor people care enough about your kids to make them into honor students.
It's so simple, even a child can do it.