Tennessee Legislature Considering Bill To Tie Welfare Checks to Student Performance

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Tennessee legislators have approved a bill in both the House and Senate committees that would tie welfare benefits to children’s school performance.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Stacy Campfield and Rep. Vance Dennis, and under it parents receiving welfare from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program may face a 30 percent cut in aid if their children do not meet satisfactory standards at school.

According to the Knoxville News and Sentinel:

“As amended, it would not apply when a child has a handicap or learning disability or when the parent takes steps to try improving the youngster’s school performance — such as signing up for a “parenting class,” arranging a tutoring program or attending a parent-teacher conference.”

Campfield introduced the bill back in January, and argues that it’s time for parents on welfare to be held to a higher standard for getting their kids a good education. He says parents have “gotten away with doing absolutely nothing to help their children” in school. “That’s child abuse to me,” he added.

TANF, for what it's worth, has not been much of a help for those receiving assistance anyway. Currently, the maximum amount a family can receive per month is $185.

Sources: ThinkProgress,  Knoxville News and Sentinel