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State House Ties Welfare Benefits to School Attendance

Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports:

The state House has approved a bill that would end welfare benefits for families with a child that repeatedly misses school without an excuse. The bill would codify into law an existing policy of the Michigan Department of Human Services. The bill passed easily with bipartisan support, although many Democrats oppose the legislation. It now goes to the state Senate.”

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson writes:

The Republican majority in Lansing has been focused on measures that tie social service benefits to behavior: drug testing that could cost a family its welfare support, for instance, and now, requiring school attendance for children whose parents get welfare - and threatening to cut off benefits if truancy is a chronic issue. Is this the right way to move people ahead? Is this cruel or heartless policy - punishing the poor for things the rich do all the time?”

WDET listener Christa says on Facebook: ”What a horrible idea! The punishment for missing school is to take money from the family, thereby causing them to miss meals or rent payments or doctor bills or car payments, too? And thereby making it even more likely that the child will miss school in the future. I cannot imagine sinking much lower than to kick children when they are already down.”

John says on Facebook: “They [parents] should have to earn that money somehow, no one should just get money because they need it. And maybe they can earn it by being classroom chaperones to make sure everyone is there doing as instructed and “bounty hunters ” for kids that skip school.”

Justine says on Facebook: “This could work if it’s a case by case thing. There’s no reason a child shouldn’t be in school but then again, things happen. A child gets sick or whatever it may be. There’s a lot of parents (& not just the poor) who don’t force their children to go to school!”

 

 

Image credit: Pkay Chelle/Creative Commons

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