Expect the next round of legislation in Ohio to include some additional major reforms to improve the lives of our children. The first and most influential will be to change sentencing laws for children that will replace the punishment of a child for an illegal act with community service or jail time for the parent or guardian. Parents are the guiding force in a child’s life, teaching children everything about the choices a child has regarding moral and ethical behavioral decisions. With this level of guidance and influence, we must no longer blame the children for the actions they engage in, but should clearly focus on holding the parents or guardians responsible for a child’s crimes.
When we factor in the details that most lawbreaking children are over the age of 13, the fault of the parent in being responsible for the child’s behavior is irrefutable. We cannot afford to ignore the mistreatment of America’s children by continuing ignore the key factor in the lives of delinquents. By holding these parents accountable, we will provide incentives to both the parents and the child to improve their behavior and decision-making in the future. Until we provide incentives of this nature in a parent accountability model, we cannot reasonably expect parents to rear their children in a responsible manner.
By passing this legislation, Ohio can be a leader in parent accountability reform.
The next legislation that should be implemented to improve the lives of children will link Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to annual measures of behavior of the affected child or children that shall be used to determine whether a child initially qualifies for benefits and a child’s eligibility to continue receiving benefits. Since impoverished and disabled students are often considered underserved and academically underperforming, Ohio must take a leadership role in implementing a financial incentive program to encourage these children and their families to make academic and behavioral growth. Without providing a financial incentive to struggling children, Ohio should not expect them to make an attempt to improve their personal situation.
The Medicaid and SSI evaluation framework will include multiple factors. The main factor will be the child’s results on a standard IQ test that will be administered on an annual basis.
Other factors will include:
- Visits to the home of each child twice per year by a state-designated social worker. Each visit shall be a least 30 minutes in length. Administration of the annual IQ test shall be conducted during a separately schedule observation. If a parent has multiple children, each child shall participate in a unique observation to determine individual funding eligibility. A parent with multiple children shall receive a composite score based on evaluations of all children in the family.
- Additional measures shall be developed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) by July 31, 2012.
- Failure to demonstrate growth as determined by the ODJFS evaluation framework for 3 out of 4 consecutive years will result in the forfeiture of all financial benefits for a period of no less than two years from date of failure, after which time a child may apply to regain funding.
As you can plainly see, by linking financial incentives to improved accountability of children and parents, we should expect to see a decrease in juvenile crime accompanied by the rise in personal responsibility, and increased academic performance, especially by the marginalized populations who have the greatest financial incentive to improve their situation.
To conclude, I personally think ideas like those presented above are ludicrous, dangerous, and sadly, not all that far-fetched. I made up these analogies based on the performance pay for teachers language that was just signed in to law last week that follows the same logic. The flawed reasoning that presumes that an unbelievably complex system that includes multiple-dimensional variables, many of which only intersect through the unique mind of a child, has absolutely no scientific research foundation and can only be described as junk “social” science.
These absurd scenarios will be embodied in Ohio’s new teacher performance pay program over the many objections of teachers throughout the state. Instead of considering factual evidence that refuted the implementation of the program, Ohio’s Republican legislators went with their gut feelings and voted in favor of something they thought sounded like a good idea.
Simply more evidence that thinking isn’t one of their strengths.