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Randy Speck

Superintendent , Madison District Public Schools

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Debate: Should public schools take on the responsibility for offering basic needs like food and health care to students and families?

Schools may no longer be just a place for parents to drop their kids off for six and a half hours each day. Due to various socio-economics, schools increasingly find themselves in a new place of influence. The impact of that influence could have a major impact on communities. Schools have access to be able to provide three meals a day through various breakfast, lunch and dinner programs. Schools have access to healthcare through School Based Health Centers to be able to provide services to students, their families and the community. However, the debate is...should schools have this responsibility?


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  • Oct 29 2012: Why not? The alleged conservatives are always the ones telling us that the military reasons are some of the few valid government expenditures. Got you. The Army was the original advocate of the school lunch programs. Only healthy kids will make healthy soldiers.
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      Oct 29 2012: A government should concern itself with little more than the judiciary and defence.
      If you expect a government to stand in for true community, you will be dissapointed when it turns facist - as all abrogated social responsibility does. If that seems unacceptable - go out and start a community, the government won't.
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        Oct 29 2012: Mitch,

        So then can schools be that community...many local school districts are made up of primary, middle years and secondary...all coming from a local community. Although the $$$ for the schools is from the tax payers through the government, the "government" isn't the community. Couldn't schools serve as a template for what community possibly looks like?
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          Oct 29 2012: I see what you are saying Randy.
          I was a great believer in schools, but experience destroyed my faith.
          I learned the painful lesson that children teach themselves.
          No model that fails to accept that will get my suport.
          Unfortunately for me, I still believe in education.
          So how can that work?
          Well, if a school was a voluntary resource centre for children .. perhaps it could work.
          What is this so called "civillisation" that both parents must work all the daylight hours while their children languish behind the jarb-wire?
          That the underpayment of our teachers represents income-shifting from them to the higher paid parents - where education is a necessary baby-sitting service?
          What is this "society" that forces the diaspora of kin into hives of homogenised strangers?
          What is this "family" where we abandon our children at the first opportunity?
          What is this where the wisdom and knowledge of our elders is buried like landfill?
          I tell you what it is:
          It's the economy stupid. .. Well it would be if you could call it an "economy".
          It's money and usury and "Jarbs" and cars.
          It is farming gone mad - it is the farming of humans.
          Walk off the farm.
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          Oct 30 2012: Randy I like where you're going with this. Schools could be the center of the community, though I hope to salvage some ideas from Mitch's response. I too believe it should be a voluntary resource center, one in which children have access to a variety of courses that they are free to choose depending on their age and ability. They could then model (imitate) from true professionals practicing their crafts in a role model fashion. This would be more for music, wood working, machine building, writing etc... and later on chemistry and more.

          I agree that schools should support their communities by offering non-profit based health insurance. Providing healthy meals as well would make them a truly important part of the community, and help make their community truly important

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