• Tennessee May Starve Children Until Their Grades Improve

    When we last caught up with Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield, he was giving unsolicited medical advice by blaming AIDS on a gay airline pilot having sex with a monkey and calling the disease "virtually impossible" to contract via heterosexual intercourse.

    There's just one problem with acting like a cartoon arch-villain: each of your evil schemes must be grander than the last. The AIDS thing came after Campfield demanded the word "gay" be banned from Tennessee classrooms, so how has he topped himself now?

    According to the Knoxville News Sentinel:

    State Sen. Stacey Campfield has proposed legislation that would cut welfare benefits to parents whose children fail to make "satisfactory academic progress" in school, a move he says should inspire parents to take a more active role in helping students learn…

    The bill defines "satisfactory academic progress" as advancing from one grade to the next and "receiving a score of proficient or advanced on required state examinations in the subject areas of mathematics and reading/language arts." Those who fail to meet "competency" standards on end-of-course exams could also be deemed fall short of "satisfactory academic progress."

    Of course! What could motivate poor kids to succeed more than taking their parents' already-meager welfare payments (a maximum of $185 per month for a mother with two children) and cutting them by 30%?

    All of a sudden those math mnemonics–cherry pies delicious! Apple pies are too!*–will make a lot more sense to kids who haven't had pies or apples in months. Right… right?

    Now, if only Tennessee could take this a step further and link lawmakers' right to propose legislation to some kind of IQ test, we would be getting somewhere.

    .

    * That's C=(pi)d and A=(pi)r squared, for all you humanities majors.

    Photo by John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Children, Education, Poverty, State Legislature, Tennessee, Welfare

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