This entire research centers around identifying the influence and
impact of the benefits, or lack thereof, welfare reforms on the educational
attainment of adult women, in particular those identified as at risk, which
also included the dropout rates of female students. In August of 1996,
President Bill Clinton signed into law the most extensive welfare reform
legislation ever enacted since Aid to Families with Dependent Children
(AFDC) was revised in the 1960s. With the signing of the Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, the federal government implemented
a "work-first" policy that imposed strict time limitations and work
requirements for parents receiving aid.
Even though the "work-first"legislation was praised by federal policy-makers
as being the answer to welfare dependency, this legislation has, in fact,
become an obstacle to financial independence for many low income parents who
see education and training, rather than immediate low-wage employment as
the ticket out of poverty. The new law imposed work requirements that make
it unfeasible if not impossible for parents receiving aid to complete a
degree program. Under the new federal law, the guaranteed JOBS program was
eliminated and replaced by Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) specific
to each state.
The new welfare policy was created with the idea that education is a
luxury which is helpful, but not necessary. According to the new federal
system of beliefs (at that time), job experience is seen as an adequate and
less costly alternative to education, therefore it took precedence over
education programs. In order to ensure that recipients engaged in work
activities, the new law imposed monetary sanctions.
The authors felt that the adjustments on education in adult women have
been abandoned by researchers, therefore creating a huge knowledge gap that
this study attempts to address. Referencing that there is but a few ...