Friday, July 25, 2008

Hear, Hear

For Ken DeRosa who is still waiting for a sound reason to expand school services into health and additional social services:
I'm still waiting on someone fom Broader, Bolder to offer some evidence supporting the effectiveness of their call to expand public education to cover a myriad of social services.

This week both Diane Ravitch and Randi Weingarten offer tepid defenses over at The Education Gadfly.

Let's take Ravitch's defense first:
I care as much about academic achievement as Checker or anyone else in the world, but I don't see any contradiction between caring about academic achievement and caring about children's health and well-being.
The issue isn't about who cares about children's health and well-being. The issue is whether public schools, who are by and large failing at their primary task of education, should take on the additional responsibilities of caring about children's health and well-being. You could care very much about the health and well-being of children and NOT think it's a good idea to hand these services over to our public schools.

The argument seems to be that since children attend school every day (cough, cough) that social services could be easily provided at school. Then why not hand over these responsibilities to the post office. After all, they make house calls six days a week regardless of the rain, snow, heat, or gloom of night. They could give the kids a quick vision screen and drop off any drug prescriptions.
No one in their right mind would delegate such tasks to the Post Office, it is clearly not their job. Likewise it is not the job of schools to ensure the health of their students, beyond simple things like safety on the playground or preventing the kids from running with scissors.

When and if, the schools can accomplish their first mission with a degree of success closer to 99% than we currently are, then we can start thinking about expanding school services.

But I would like to point. I have no problem with the schools being teh "site" of a free, basic health clinic, so long as it is not funded with school money or staffed by school employees. Schools are used by many groups for non-school related functions (i.e. churches, civic associations), but that is very different than the schools themselves providing the services.

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