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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: OmG. OmG... Being a Superintendent, I would assume you view this debate subject with abject horror. Not only do you have special ed, bilingual, gifted, 'free-lunch', parental involvement all the way from complete apathy to hyper-interference, school boards running schools who have no training in education, all while keeping a smiling face, now 'the people' ostensibly want to procreate children and make you responsible for raising them - with the absolute expectation that they will all get into Harvard. This is 'responsibility shifting' at its utter worst. Yet given the current rationale that many working people propose and many unemployed claim, it's an easy solution - for them - to child dump. Maybe if schools refuse, the public will ask the police and fire to raise their children. They pay their salaries too. How about the army? They already accept the failures that parents create to try to 'fix' their kids and protect the country at the same time, maybe they can have a 'special branch' called "Youth Made For America". The fact that you even thought it was necessary to open this 'subject' up for debate shows just how dangerous of a time we're in.
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      Oct 29 2012: RH

      The fact that I opened up the discussion is because of what I see. Children with barely anything to eat...older students trying to sneak into facilities so they can clean themselves or have a quiet place to sleep. Trust me, I would rather talk about kids being creative, innovative and amazing problem solvers and one day, i will get to that. However, until then, we have a society of kids (I can't worry about whose fault it is) that need schools to be bigger in scope of services than they currently are.
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        Oct 30 2012: With all due respect of your position Randy, I must heartily disagree. I understand that in many districts kids are ill-prepared for substantive learning. I understand that you are held accountable for test scores and a 'failing schools' rating. Maybe you see your schools as a 'last resort' for these kids or you have research that demonstrates how schools with such issues have used the tactics you're suggesting to improve student learning. But with the issues your discussing, I would challenge the police and the community to start doing their job so you could do yours before I'd volunteer to do their jobs too. Good luck and all the best.

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