Yesterday afternoon, Fox News hosted a discussion on whether a Tennessee proposal to tie welfare checks to kids’ school grades was a good idea. The debate was between the writer of the Tennessee law and a former school superintendent who isn’t a fan of the proposed law.
Republican State Rep. Stacey Campfield said the proposal will take parental accountability “to the next level by saying, listen, if your kid is failing every single class because who knows what reason — unless you are a special needs child or something like that — we’re going to stop or cut back on the amount of straight cash payments you’re going to get.”
Campfield said this is a way to end the cycle of poverty.
“This has nothing to do with food stamps or school lunches or anything or school-housing vouchers,” he continued. “This is a straight cash payment that the state gives to these people that are in need, but we need to stop this generational poverty.”
Former school superintendent Jo Ann Roberts said that local governments should focus on training to equip parents to help them with their children’s education.
“The thing is, we have a lot of parents who couldn’t get a flip. We can’t get them on the phone. They don’t show up to any parent-teacher meetings,” Campfield replied. “We have to find some way to motivate those parents to say, wait a second, maybe it’s important if I talk to the teacher once a year at least or to see how my son or daughter is doing.”
“I think he needs to dig a little deeper,” Roberts argued. “If he’s targeting the parents that don’t give a flip, let that be the target population, and let’s go in there and if we have to go to their homes and get these parents. This is what we had to do in Chicago. We want to make something work, we go to the home, we find the parents. Nothing stops us from our objective of getting them engaged. Let’s talk to targeted parents that don’t give a flip. Let’s ask them what is it going to take for them to give a flip.”
What do you think? Is this a mechanism for holding parents accountable or is it just another way of cutting welfare?