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Education in the Media, Satire

Meducation: how did we land here?

 |Kelly Tenkely|  Originally published on http://ilearntechnology.com

I recently saw this bit on the Colbert Report...it would be funnier if it weren’t accurately reporting something that is actually happening.  It is unbelievable to me that we, as a society, choose to medicate (meducate) instead of challenging the system and fixing the problem.

As educators, it is up to us to fix this problem.  I would love to believe that politicians will wake up and change the education environment. I would love to believe that this problem will work itself out.  Unfortunately, doctors like Michael Anderson are choosing to anesthetize children to get through their schooling and to “level” the playing field.  This can’t be the answer…how will that be helpful to our future?!

I believe that together we can personalize education for every child. It is possible to help children find their passion in learning without drugging them.  This can be a reality!  Medicating children to get them through school can’t be the answer.  I think that  The Learning Genome Project.  is a really great start to transforming the landscape of education. To personalizing learning in a way that helps children find their giftings and fall in love with learning.  Yes, this is a shameless promotion, but it isn’t for me, it is for all of us.

Excerpt from “Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School”

by Alan Schwarz New York Times, page 1, October 9, 2012

full text available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/health/attention-disorder-or-not-children-prescribed-pills-to-help-in-school.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1

When (American paediatrician) Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall (a mixture of four amphetamine salts1)…

Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools. “I don’t have a whole lot of choice…We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”…

Dr. Anderson’s instinct, he said, is that of a “social justice thinker” who is “evening the scales a little bit.” He said that the children he sees with academic problems are essentially “mismatched with their environment” — square pegs chafing the round holes of public education…

About 9.5 percent of Americans ages 4 to 17 were judged to have it (ADHD) in 2007, or about 5.4 million children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2

According to guidelines published last year by the American Academy of Pediatrics, physicians should use one of several behavior rating scales, some of which feature dozens of categories, to make sure that a child not only fits criteria for A.D.H.D., but also has no related condition like dyslexia or oppositional defiant disorder, in which intense anger is directed toward authority figures. However, a 2010 study in the Journal of Attention Disorders suggested that at least 20 percent of doctors said they did not follow this protocol when making their A.D.H.D. diagnoses, with many of them following personal instinct…

Dr. Anderson said (ADHD diagnostic criteria)…were codified only to “make something completely subjective look objective.”…

“This is my whole angst about the thing,” Dr. Anderson said. “We put a label on something that isn’t binary — you have it or you don’t. We won’t just say that there is a student who has problems in school, problems at home, and probably, according to the doctor with agreement of the parents, will try medical treatment.”

He added, “We might not know the long-term effects, but we do know the short-term costs of school failure, which are real. I am looking to the individual person and where they are right now. I am the doctor for the patient, not for society.”

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About ktenkely

Specializing in instructional technology Professional development. Consulting. Teaching.

Discussion

One thought on “Meducation: how did we land here?

  1. It seems to be a mixed matter of expediency, finances better living through modern chemistry, and a rather eugenic (or at least biochemical) approach to effecting “normalcy”.

    Posted by Brent Snavely | October 14, 2012, 9:35 am

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