Saturday, August 23, 2008

Schools--Social Service Centers?

This piece was a little more gentle than I'd be on the topic, but I agreed with so much of what was in there:

The issue is, are schools the best institutions for providing these (social) services? Even if schools could provide them, it still makes no sense to provide them through schools if other institutions could provide the same services better. Like, say, institutions whose core mission is to provide those services.

Even if we stipulate everything the unions might ask us to stipulate — that these services are needed, and that they can be provided effectively by a big new spending program, and that schools can provide them effectively — the idea that a bunch of non-educational services should be handed over to schools makes no sense. Unless, of course, the real goal is to build up the government school bureaucracy and its attendant gravy train — such as the unions who are making this proposal.

The really funny thing is, we’ve tried bringing social services into schools before. Fifty years ago, schools didn’t serve breakfast and provide teams of guidance counselors. Providing these and other social services in schools was originally justified on grounds that the kids needed these services to do well in school. How has that worked out?

I'll agree that our society has certainly changed, and that makes life extra hard on us educators. But that doesn't free us from the responsibility of teaching.


Ronnie said...

That excerpt contained almost no information and the examples they used disagree with their argument. That "How has that worked out" can be answered by at least in the San Juan Unified School District all food services are run independently of the school and are paid for entirely by what is charged for food. They even give away meals to people who can't afford them, but those losses are made up by how much is charged. If you believe providing minimal amounts of guidance counselors has hurt the students or the teachers I'd say you haven't looked at what they constantly deal with. At least with Rio's 90% of their job is keeping people on a good academic path and 10% is helping students with personal problem, a very important service. I'm not saying schools should be social service centers, but for minimal social services for children they are the perfect place to be implemented and have been successfully implemented for over 50 years.

Darren said...

I'm not convinced that history proves you right.

Ronnie said...

Well I'm not convinced that vague, empty claims can be even called right.

Darren said...

You're correct. Vague, empty claims are usually called left :-)