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C. A Different View of Welfare Reform

Narrator: This is Science Today. When politicians talk about welfare reform, a lot of them advocate workfare -- putting welfare recipients to work. Social welfare professor Neil Gilbert of the University of California, Berkeley says that for young unwed mothers, workfare is wrong because it takes them away from their children and day care is very expensive.

Gilbert: And rather than focusing on the mothers and saying, we're going to make you go to work, it seems to me that one could invest the resources and say, well, we want to insure that your job as a mother is being well done. And we are going to help you but also to monitor you.

Narrator: Gilbert advocates subjecting young unwed mothers to what he admits would be a high degree of public surveillance in exchange for continued benefits. He also calls for realistic training and education.

Gilbert: Today literacy in modern society does not mean being able to read and write. I believe literacy means being able to use a computer. It's not clear that there will be jobs for everybody, and certainly not clear that there will be jobs for people who are not well-educated.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.