Tennessee: No Food for Low Performers?

“Tennessee welfare recipients could soon face a new hurdle in qualifying for assistance: their children’s grades. A new Republican-sponsored bill could cost families 30 per cent of their benefits if a child fails to show satisfactory progress in school.”

Its about time. Real incentivization! Natural and social scientists and humanitarians of all stripes have long noted that the denial of the most basic necessities of life is the high road of civilization and calls forth the best humanity has to offer. Hopefully the full weight and power of electric shock will be introduced in classrooms to “stimulate learning” among the poor! High standards for all!

Oh yes, I know, all the news stories focus on the GOP. I don’t believe this is mere brain fart of some individual or even narrowly linked to Republicans. Charters deny access to students with special needs; New York’s APPR will punish teachers who have low-income students (Read Bruce Baker’s work if you don’t believe me). Funding for public schools continues to be cut, with efforts to increase vouchers and tax credits for the rich. The Common Core assessments and associated databases will track students in their “appropriate” path. The list of attacks on the principles of public education — open access, democratic control — is far too long for this little note (see my three par series Infaming the Pubic). This is the new arrangement being imposed: “Submit or else we will take EVERYTHING away. In fact, we’re taking everything anyway, and you’ll be punished unless you shut up! And you might be punished anyway, even if you do shut up.”

See this news item; the Senate bill can be found here and updates here; for one editorial opposing the measure, see this:

If I do not speak for a majority of Tennesseans I will be remiss to express how saddened, outraged, and disappointed I am with the legislatures who deem it necessary to enact a bill to cut the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, welfare benefits, of parents whose children are under-performers in Tennessee schools. This cannot be the reality of the 21st century of which lingers in the not so distant past the horrors of the Jim Crow South.

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