Today, as millions of American schoolchildren return to school, I am pleased that we are approving Virginia's request for welfare waivers. These waivers will allow Virginia to test a program that encourages children of welfare recipients to attend school.
Under Virginia's program, children in grades 6 through 8 in a limited number of schools will be required to attend school, or their families would lose the higher welfare payments and other rewards provided as incentives. To encourage students to stay in school, individual dropout prevention counseling and other needed services will be provided. Families of children who remain truant despite counseling may have their assistance payment further reduced.
Education and job skills are necessary for any person to become a productive member of society. Virginia's program will evaluate whether these incentives improve school attendance and performance.