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Monday, December 20, 2010

Welfare Reform and Education

As I talk to school teachers that I am friends with I hear that if parents are involved then the children do much better in school. They also say they have trouble getting parents to come to 30 min open house and parent-teacher meetings.
So parents who went through government education system, feel that they don’t need to be involved in the system. That means when they were in the system the first time, this wasn’t a priority.

These are just general statements and don’t apply to every situation, but when looking at the big picture of government schools this is clearly an issue. If parents don’t care, then their child will likely not care.

If you look at social and economic issues typically those who do not have a high education, are less likely to care about schooling. Children from a troubled house simply are not likely to do well in school. Thankfully this is not always the case. So if a child is from a troubled background, their family is less likely to care about schooling and therefore the child is less likely to succeed in education.
Currently unemployment in the United States sits around 9.7%, that number for the college educated is closer to 5.1% and thus the unemployment percent for those without degrees is much higher. If you are unemployed you are likely on some sort of welfare (unemployment checks, government benefits, prop 8 housing).

I am not for government intervention, the less the better, but clearly in the US our current policies do not line up with this thinking. Since programs will not be done away with, how can we modify them for the result we are looking for and what is that?
Current goals of education are stabilize social and economical conditions to keep society is as safe as possible condition. Create students that are capable of being employed, keep their positions, and move as new technologies are developed. If you search for Welfare reform and changes, you will find articles about tying Welfare to school attendance. I say tie to school performance.

Currently if you have a child and are on welfare, you get additional handouts (benefits) for the government to make sure those children receive a living standard. Why not tie this amount into the child effectiveness in school. If you average a 2.5 you get that standard amount, say you average a 3.0 you get 5% more and if you average a 3.5 you get 10% and a 4.0 you get 15%. On the same token, if you get a 2.0 you get 5% less, 1.5 10% less, 1.0 15% less and 20% less if you drop out (since you will now have time to find a job).

Those with special needs or situations could be exempt. I’m not going to get into those details here.

This plan will promote education as a benefit to those from troubled backgrounds, and provides them with a means to better themselves financially, while doing so educationally. This way teens wouldn’t be encouraged to drop out of school to help pay bills. The adults will be more interested in ensuring that their child does well in school, because it will give them more money to provide food and shelter.

The more educated people we have the more we can get in taxes, the less we have to pay out for services and the more fruitful our society becomes. Education is seen as a way to get out of poverty, but current welfare system promotes people staying in poverty because of how it is administered and does not promote educational growth.

I would like to see some other sides of this plan, I obviously posted the positives, but I am sure there are negatives to this plan and I would like to hear those. I'm just trying to get the discussion going.


  1. I particularly like your second to last paragraph when you make the connection between paying for education now versus later in terms of benefits. However many studies have shown the the amount per pupil spent has no effect on results,or at least test results which seem to be the measure of "success." Newark, NJ spends over $20,000 per student(TIME magazine) and still is behind many other systems.

    Money can be a headache, but it's certainly not a reason for failing schools. It starts and stops with the teachers in the clasroom and the principals in the front office.


  2. The problem with focusing on test results, is that it makes the test the end all be all, versus if you focus on the student learning and the test as a way to view where to focus more energy than there can be a classroom structured for learning.

    There is no correlation with spending money and school success. Yet we continue to try and spend more and more money to fix it.