Should a welfare family's check be tied directly to the academic performance of their kids?
That question is now before the Tennessee General Assembly.
It has educators buzzing and the governor threatening a veto.
SANDY HUGHES, PRES. HAMILTON CO. EDUCATION ASSOC. "This legislation...I'm sorry, it's just facetious on its face."
The House Health Committee on Wednesday voted 10-8 to advance a bill linking a family's welfare benefits to student performance.
the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Vance Dennis of Savannah, Tennessee.
It would cut monthly benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, if a child fails to "maintain satisfactory academic progress."
LE ANDREA WARE, DIR. HMDE I-ZONE "But if we begin to take support systems away from children that need them the most...then we exacerbate the problem."
Supporters of the legislation point-out that the cuts could be avoided if parents attend conferences with teachers, take parenting classes or enroll their children in tutoring programs or summer school.
But Hamilton county school leaders still find the bill counterproductive.
SANDY HUGHES, HCEA "We want the parents involved in their child's learning ..because its proven that they're more successful..but to make that child be responsible person in the family that would affect their finances...is just absurd."
LE ANDREA WARE "You know, you have children that even with the assistance they now receive, they are hungry, they don't have the clothing, they don't have the necessary support system at home and so we can't take away what little bit they do have."
Governor Bill Haslam said Tuesday he doesn't see a connection between welfare benefits and students' grades.
He says he will "very strongly" consider a veto if it passes both chambers.
Sandy Hughes, of the Education Association says there are laws already on the books in Tennessee requiring parental involvement in their children's education.
Le Andrea Ware says there are 2300 students in local I-zone schools that could be affected by the law.