Who needs parents? ‘Full-Service’ schools open on weekends, give kids meals, health care, more

Four Madison, Wisc. public schools may soon use a $300,000 grant to offer full-time services to its students. Not only with they continue to educate the students enrolled in the program, but they’ll also provide all meals, homework help and even doctors’ visits.

Funding comes from the Madison Community Foundation, which would cover the first three years of the program’s implementation, aimed at low-income families, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

“Our goal is to raise student achievement for all and narrow and close achievement gaps but we cannot do it on our own,” superintendent Jennifer Cheatham told the Journal Thursday.

“By better coordinating our efforts (and) creating a quilt of strong neighborhood centers with strong, full-service community schools, we’ll be able to make sure that the families that need coordinated services can actually get them.”

The district said that although school hours will remain as they are, the school buildings will open earlier and close later and will even be open on weekends.

One reader claimed that it had been tried before — with little success. He wrote:

Wow, the models for this are Oakland, Chicago, and New York public schools. With few exceptions, these three school districts are not known for high literacy, high numeracy, or high graduation rates (even the teachers suffer on the literacy and numeracy fronts).

Since the program will be looking for permanent funding, how does one measure success?

Too bad Madison does not try emulating high success districts such as those in, say, just about any modern European country, South Korea, or Japan. None of them go in for “full service.” They tend to care about reading, writing, math.

And another brought it all down to economics and parenting responsibilities.

“After the grants are finished, the taxpayers are on the hook,” he noted. “Parents need to be parents and responsible for their children instead of taking care of their nicotine, alcohol and drug addictions. These kids don’t stand a chance when kids are having kids and their brains are fried in the womb from these addictions. It is all very sad.”

Most, but not all respondents were against the program. Wrote one in favor:

“So the children of idiots should be condemned to achieve less than their potential because they lost the genetic lottery?”

And someone using the handle “KickieWis” blamed everything on the wealthy and corporate America not paying their “fair share” in taxes:

“Pay attention to facts,” he wrote. “Poor people pay taxes. In fact, the poor have less tax breaks than any other class of people in our society. Do your ignorance and prejudice mindset a favor. Learn the facts.”

Blogger Ann Aklthouse picked up the story and received some interesting comments as well.

One reminded me of a book Hillary Clinton wrote when she was first lady — “It Takes A Village.”

“Almost like a kibbutz without the religion,” he said. “Give your children to the state.”

Another saw it as a power-grab:

Are we really pretending kids can’t learn because they don’t have medical care?” he asked. “A transparent effort to justify more social spending and empire building.”

Those are their thoughts — what are yours?

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