So it’s understandable that a Tennessee lawmaker would back legislation linking school performance to welfare benefits — until you stop to think about the cold, hard realities of parenting a family under such circumstances.
Knoxville Republican Stacey Campfield proposed Senate Bill 132 in January. It would require up to a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) — or welfare — payments to parents or caretakers with children who “fail to maintain satisfactory progress in school.”
Despite facing a firestorm of controversy after first suggesting the bill, Campfield has persevered. Rep. Vance Dennis, a Republican from Savannah, Tenn., sponsored the bill in the House. This past week, the billcleared both committees and appears to be on its way toward passage and law.
Campfield explained his reason for the bill in his blog, saying achievement in education is like a three-legged stool made up of schools, teachers and parents. “The third leg of the stool (probably the most important leg) is the parents,” he wrote. “We have done little to hold them accountable for their child’s performance. What my bill would do is put some responsibility on parents for their child’s performance.”
No kidding. A 30 percent reduction would cut the $185 a single mom and her two children receive each month — that’s month, not week — down to $129.50.