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Bill linking student performance to welfare headed to subcommittee

7:19 PM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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A bill that would take money away from families on welfare when their children preform poorly in school is up for debate in a State House subcommittee this week.

Senate Bill 132, proposed by State Senator Stacey Campfield passed a Senate subcommittee last week.

"We're not going to break the cycle of generational poverty without these kids getting educated," Sen. Campfield said Tuesday from Nashville. "Just because the parent isn't educated doesn't mean the child shouldn't be educated."

SB 132 would reduce what students get from state assistance if they are failing a class and no intervention is taken by a parent.  Sen. Campfield said this only applies if a parent does not enroll their failing student in tutoring or participate in parent-teacher conferences.

The bill said 30% of what a child receives from the Temporary Assistance to Need Families payment would be deducted if no action is taken.

The senator stressed  this would not affect food stamps or other necessities for the child.

However, one social work professor disagrees with the logic.

"The problem is many of these kids don't have anything to lose, they're already failing, there's no incentive to do better because there's no road forward for them," said UT professor Dr. David Dupper.

He added the bill would not keep every child from these low income backgrounds from dropping out.

"We can't have this one approach that's going to solve the problem for all kids," Dr. Dupper said.

Sen. Campfield said if this does not finish going through committee this legislative session, it will continue next year.

According to DHS, the average size of a TANF household consisting of a caregiver and one or two children would receive a monthly payment was $164.40 from the state.

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