Today I wanted to blog about something not directly related to Physical Education classes, but hugely influential for teachers, students, and parents.
I listen to an American radio station online and this week one of their news stories was about the fight to pass a bill that would tie welfare payments to student achievement in Tennessee. It is a controversial bill, to say the least.
Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield claims that it would not be excessive—parents would not be penalized if their child was merely struggling. The student only needs to maintain a D. The purpose is to encourage parental involvement in their children’s lives and schools. We do know that this helps students succeed. They could lose 20% if their child does not attend school and 30% of their welfare amount if they are not making “satisfactory progress.” This satisfactory progress requires success on standardized testing and advancement through the grades. The challenges of standardized tests for students from lower socio-economic families we are already too aware of. Is this the best route? Tennessee has one of the highest populations for welfare recipients in the U.S., so this would certainly affect many. This article concludes that, “Campfield does not have children.” Maybe his perspective would change if he did?
What do you think of this bill? What could be a solution to encouraging more parental involvement without threatening to take away welfare payments? If the bill were passed here, would you be tempted to give your students higher marks just so they could receive welfare if you knew their families were in those situations? Or would it merely challenge you to work harder to help that student learn?
Here’s a news clip of a school superintendent and the Sen. Stacey Campfield that presents both sides of the argument.