by Max Brantley
Voter ID laws are coming to Arkansas before long. (And given their failure in states already, can microchip IDs tied to voter records be far behind?)
But a good friend in the education community sends me word now of this advancement fingerprint ID requirements for Mississippi moochers otherwise known as parents of children who qualify for government-supported child care.
Mississippi parents will have to scan their fingerprints every time they drop off and pick up their children at daycare when a new program goes into effect next year. But childcare providers have been protesting the system for months, saying that it stigmatizes low-income families and may ultimately take away income from already cash-strapped centers.
Child care providers in Mississippi say the new attendance system may discourage low-income parents from enrolling their children in daycare. (Photo by Kim Palmer)
On Wednesday, the House and Senate Investigate State Offices Committee listened to concerns from a representative of the non-profit Mississippi Low Income Childcare Initiative, reports The Clarion-Ledger, in what has become a contentious battle between child care centers and the state government.
Under the new system, Mississippi eChildcare, parents who receive child care vouchers from the state will have to scan their fingers so the state can track their children’s attendance at daycare and preschool. Childcare providers say they fear that the fingerprint scanners could lead to a payment system in which the state would only reimburse them for the time a child is at their center. Providers say costs to run a center and pay staff remain constant even when children are absent.
Fingerprint scanning. Wonderful idea. After child care, it could be linked to food stamp use. Interstate highway access. A state database on church attendance. Rep. Justin Harris, the Republican whose church daycare center provides a government-financed income for his family and religious instruction for his charges, is the obvious sponsor for all these measures.
And, say, notice that creation in Mississippi? The Investigate State Offices Committee?