Should parents lose welfare funds if their children don't improve in school?
In the ongoing national debate about education reform, the importance of the role that parents play often becomes central to the conversation. That's true whether discussing how much control teachers have over home influences as they discuss evaluations, or when talking about school choice and the parents' right to pick what's best for their children.
If positive parent involvement is so key, some Tennessee lawmakers have reasoned, why not hold parents financially accountable?
A bill moving through the Tennessee Legislature would cut welfare payments to families whose children do not attend school, or who do not show adequate progress in their academic achievement. From the bill summary:
"Failure to comply with attendance requirements, or to receive a proficient or advanced score or a grade point average sufficient to ascend to the next grade, will be a failure to comply with the personal responsibility plan required by this bill and will result in a 30 percent reduction with regard to the temporary assistance payment until such time as compliance occurs."
The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that the bill is clearing key committees, with limited opposition. But some Democrats are starting to criticize the measure as targeting struggling families, noting that kids still need to eat regardless of school performance. Your thoughts?