College Guide


March 27, 2013 4:26 PM Tennessee Consideres Cutting Welfare Payments to Parents Who Skip Parent-Teacher Conferences

By Daniel Luzer


A very controversial Tennessee law that would reduce federal welfare benefits (by up to 30 percent) for families with students who fail a grade in school has another strange education implication.

According to a piece in The Tennessean:

It was amended to limit maximum penalties to parents who do not attend parent-teacher conferences, enroll their child in tutoring or attend a parenting course. Special needs students would be exempt from the law.

State Sen. Stacey Campfield introduced the bill. Campfield, who represents Knoxville, is a Republican. So much for that whole limited government thing, GOP.

Campfield maintains that he’s really trying to help. As he explained to the paper, “It’s really just something to try to get parents involved with their kids. We have to do something.”

Did he consider just providing parents with more money (from the state) if their children make the honor roll? Because if the goal is just “something to try to get parents involved with their kids,” that would probably make more sense.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on March 28, 2013 8:47 AM:

    Or compensate the parents for having to miss work at their, probably, low-wage jobs to make these parent-teacher meetings???

    All those things take time and money, both of which are, presumably, in very short supply with the neediest of families. A 40-hour work week is nothing if you're working at the minimum wage.

    Another sad example of penalizing the poor for being poor...

  • POed Lib on March 28, 2013 6:36 PM:

    This sounds like a good idea, actually. Of course, sufficient flexibility must be maintained, and possibly the use of teleconferences should be allowed. But too many parents do not contact the teacher.