SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CLINICS
Lynn M. Stuter
January 7, 2003
NewsWithViews.comMany schools have or are establishing school-based health clinics. Many parents, seeing the possibility, the probability, of children being exposed to medical care, medical procedures (such as abortion), and medical professionals (such as psychologists and psychiatrists) without their consent, are raising their voices in opposition.Where did the idea for school-based clinics come from; what is the impetus behind schools establishing such clinics?In 1989, in addressing teachers in South Kitsap School District, Washington state, Dr Shirley McCune stated,"When you walk in the building, there's a row of offices. In one are drug counselors. One is for social security. Another, family and child psychologists. Yet another has a doctor and nurse who do well-child exams ... There's a child-care center, and tied into it are classes for teenagers where they learn the importance of child nurturing skills ... These are 'community learning centers' not just schools ... Schools are no longer in the 'schooling business,' but rather in 'human resource development' ..." (1)What Dr McCune — then with Mid-continental Regional Education Laboratory, now with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington state — outlined in her address to the teachers of South Kitsap School District is coming to pass in the form of education reform or systems education.Goal One of Goals 2000 (HR 1804; Public Law 103-227) states, "By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn." Objective III under Goal One states, "children will receive the nutrition, physical activity experiences, and health care needed to arrive at school with healthy minds and bodies, and to maintain the mental alertness necessary to be prepared to learn ..."While this all might sound quite reasonable - maybe even noble - to some, we must remember that the one doing the implementing defines the terms. In this case, the one defining the terms is state and federal personnel and agencies who must justify their job and existence.In Washington state, in the 1993-95 biennium, Judith Billings - then Superintendent of Public Instruction, stated in a report on Readiness to Learn, "As defined in the grant application, a child is 'ready to learn' when he/she has the physical and emotional health, the socialization skills, and capacity to actively and positively engage in the learning process on their first day of school and every day thereafter."How are each of these nebulous terms defined? How will the school ensure that a child is "ready to learn"? Again, remember who defines the terms.In the Executive Summary of the final report on Readiness to Learn, it is stated, "Its [readiness to learn] strategy is to enable schools and social service organizations to work together to provide comprehensive services for young people and their families." Further in the Introduction, this concept is further expanded, "The programs are school-linked and sometimes school-based. Since the long-term goal is to improve the school success of students at risk, schools are logically key players in the programs, although not necessarily the direct service providers. The target population is typically identified through the school, and services may be provided at or near the school." Those state agencies listed as being involved in the production of this document include the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Department of Health, Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED), and Department of Employment Security. The why and wherefore of the latter two will become apparent.Note the term "students at risk". The Improving America's Schools Act (HR-6; Public Law 103-382), the funding mechanism for Goals 2000, provides the following definition of "at risk": "The term 'at risk youth' means school aged youth who are at risk of academic failure, have drug or alcohol problems, are pregnant or are parents, have come into contact with the juvenile justice system in the past, are at least one year behind the expected grade level for the age of the youth, have limited-English proficiency, are gang members, have dropped out of school in the past, or have high absenteeism rates at school." (Section 1432 (2))What constitutes "at risk of academic failure?" Let's look at the Entrance Criteria as published by the Puget Sound Educational Service District, dated May 10, 1995,* Chronic disruption in school.* Repeated suspension, expulsion or emergency action.* Behaviors that result in learning problems. (non attendance, defiesauthority)* Lack of critical thinking—reasoning skills and processes.* Involved with the Juvenile Justice system. (criminal activity, weaponspossession)* High risk for street/gang involvement.* Issues of abuse that interfere with learning. (substance, sexual, physical)* Social issues that interfere with learning. (poverty, homelessness,promiscuity, premature pregnancy, stealing, lying, culture/cooperationdifficulties)* Health issues that interfere with learning. (poor nutrition, depression,self-destructive, eating disorders, low self-esteem, anxiety)* Mental Health issues dual diagnosis.Again, remember who defines the terms and who decides what constitutes, for example, a child who "defies authority", has "culture/cooperation difficulties", has "low self-esteem", has been physically abused or is "self-destructive". What constitutes a "weapon"? Too many parents have learned, rather painfully, that how they would define these terms and how these terms are defined by school personnel who must justify their job is quite different. Most parents don't consider a table knife sent to school in a lunch a weapon. But school personnel do.There isn't a child in school who hasn't been "at risk of failure" at some time during the day or week. And, under Goals 2000, these "at risk" behaviors must be addressed by the school district at a medical facility on-site or near by. Thus the impetus for school-based clinics.We've explored the how, but why are schools nation-wide doing this?Remember the words of Dr Shirley McCune, that schools are no longer in the schooling business, they are in the business of human resource development? What does a human resource look like?Ultimately, the human resource will have demonstrated mastery of the "new basics": teamwork, critical thinking, making decisions, communication, adapting to change and understanding whole systems (2). The benchmarks of the new basics are the state exit outcomes (by whatever name called); the measure of their mastery is the state assessment tool (by whatever name called); and the reward for demonstrating mastery is the certificate of mastery or initial mastery.Where did these "new basics" come from? They were decided long before 1990, but came to light as the competencies set forth by the Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). The SCANS commission was established under the Bush Administration by then Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole. Interestingly, many of the people who served on the SCANS commission had also served on the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (CSAW) under the auspices of the National Center on Education and the Economy headed by Marc Tucker, friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The significance of this correlation is that the CSAW commission authored "America's Choice: high skills or low wages!" in which it is stated, on page 26, "But in a broad survey of employment needs across America, we found little evidence of a far-reaching desire for a more educated workforce." The SCANS competencies, we are told, are what the business community wants in a "worker" or a "human resource."
Remember, the schools are not longer in the schooling business, they are in the business of "human resource development". In that endeavor the school (strike that, it's now a community learning center) will become the hub of the community, providing all services to the community (of human resources), birth to death, just as stated by Dr Shirley McCune in 1989.
The community learning center will be a satellite of the regional one stop career center which will oversee training and retraining of workers (not employees but "workers") according to regional economic development strategies and regional labor market needs as determined by the regional workforce investment board under the auspices of the federal government. My goodness, what a mouthful!!
The school-based clinic will be part of "all services to the community" in the interests of human resource development. The ultimate goal, of course, is the development and maintenance of the sustainable environment.
Is the answer to home school or put one's children in private schools? Short-term, that is the answer. Long-term, it is not. All means all, and it is the intent of the government to include all, even home schoolers and private schools. While homeschoolers believed being exempt from the various laws passed to implement this system would protect them, they are not protected from the outreach of this system. Nor are private schools. In the not so distant future, young adults who do not have the certificate of mastery will not be able to get a job, a drivers license, or go on to higher education until they do have it. And they will not be able to get it until they demonstrate mastery of the wanted behaviors defined as the "new basics" benchmarked by the state exit outcomes and benchmarks, assessed by the state assessment, and taught by the sanctioned curriculum, instruction and teaching methodologies.
Without so much as a vote or their informed consent. the American people no longer live in a Republic, are no longer free, they have become subjects of the emerging socialist police state.
(1) "Blueprint given for schools of the future"; Bremerton Sun; October 14, 1989'
(2) "High Skills, High Wages"; Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board; Washington State; 1994.
© 2003 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved
Mother and wife, Stuter has spent the past ten years researching systems theory with a particular emphasis on education. She home schooled two daughters, now grown and on their own. She has worked with legislators, both state and federal, on issues pertaining to systems governance and education reform. She networks nation-wide with other researchers and citizens concerned with the transformation of our nation. She has traveled the United States and