Lawmakers in Michigan are slowly working to overcome the stigma that has been attached to the state for the last several years of being a poor, failing, welfare-dependent state.

In a recent vote, the Republican-heavy state senate passed a new measure that would limit welfare benefits of parents whose children are "chronically truant," as a last-resort to help keep children in school and raise education levels across the state.

According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, poverty threatens over 500,000 children in Michigan, a number which could be dramatically effected if education levels rose.

Republicans and those in favor of the bill, including Michigan governor Rick Snyder, say that the threat of losing welfare privileges if a child doesn't attend school will help drive parents to insure that their children are going to school. The bill doesn't mandate that students get good grades, or even passing grades--it simply would penalize those parents who let their children skip school repeatedly.

Liberals who oppose the bill say that it's akin to "kicking people when they're down," and that the bill will target families who are already in dire straits. Indeed, the argument could be made that many of these "chronically truant" children are influenced more by gangs and peer groups than by parents.

However, the change has to start somewhere, and holding parents accountable for their children's actions, especially if the parents are receiving money from state taxpayers, is the best place to start.

Instead of having welfare funds endlessly poor into a funnel of low education and poverty, a cycle which in the end kicks people down farther than giving them penalties, Michigan's new bill might help give parents the firepower they need to help these truant children.

If the threat of not eating is presented to these teenagers who don't want to go to school, perhaps they'll finally see reason and go to school. And if they learn something along the way and are able to escape the cycle of poverty, well, then, it would seem the program might be working.

h/t: Mad World News, Opposing Views, Detroit News

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