"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

High Stakes Standardized Tests Help Fuel Drug Company Profits

Don't you just love how the entire education industrial complex is intertwined with  corporations like pharmaceutical companies?  Just think of all the stress, physical ailments and behavioral problems that will result from the continuous test and punish, value added, and merit pay for high test scores education deform can yield. Even the rich kids of the 1% find drugs can help them compete and perform better in high pressure environments.
In a society that values competition over collaboration, privilege over justice and test scores over children's health and well being, what do you expect?
A class in Tae-Kwon-Do or music, or art, or dance, or drama would probably help these kids improve their learning abilities and overall health and emotional well being. However, what would happen to the pharmaceutical company's profits if all those ADHD kids were suddenly actually doing well and didn't need drugs to get through life in the U.S.A.'s version of education reform in 2013?
Until Citizens United is overturned and our elected representatives begin to focus on the best interests of the children, our nation's future will be bleak. These stories about corporate abuse will proliferate, but not on the corporate owned evening news stations on television but online where journalists are still free to report. 
As 2014 begins, watch out for the upcoming battle over net neutrality as the crescendo of voices speaking truth to power is scrutinized more closely by the powers that be and the monied interests.  The only thing that counts these days in this for profit education universe, at the expense of the 99 percent, is how much money Governors like Chris Christie can funnel to his friend's pockets. In fact, Governor Chris Christie's high school buddy caused a major traffic jam on the first day of school as retribution for the Mayor of Fort Lee's refusal to back Christie in the gubernatorial election.  Let's see. How many value added points should we deduct from those schools where the children lost the first day of school as they sat on school buses in traffic for two to three hours?
Luckily, we still have freedom of speech and access to the Internet where most of us educated and curious people get our information. So, sit back and enjoy some real journalism, from real reporters in real media about ADHD drugs and their overuse and abuse for boys and girls who just don't know how to sit for 7 or 8 hours in school at desks filling in bubbles or staring at a computer screen.
As Bill Gates and David Coleman altruistically prepare this generation for sitting at the computer 10-12 hours a day to collect all that data on how their peers, teachers and schools are doing, overprescribing ADHD drugs is a good education strategy for raising test scores.

Merry Christmas. 
But a new report in The New York Times questions whether these staggering figures reflect a medical reality, or an over-medicated craze that has earned billions in profits for the pharmaceutical companies involved. Sales for ADHD drugs like Adderall and Concerta topped $9 billion in the United States last year, a more than 500 percent jump from a decade before. The radical spike in diagnoses has coincided with a 20-year marketing effort to promote stimulant prescriptions for children struggling in school, as well as for adults seeking to take control of their lives. The marketing effort has relied on studies and testimonials from a select group of doctors who have received massive speaking fees and funding grants from major pharmaceutical companies.
Democracy Now! is joined by four guests: Alan Schwarz, an award-winning reporter who wrote the New York Times piece, "The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder"; Jamison Monroe, a former teenage Adderall addict who now runs Newport Academy, a treatment center for teens suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues; Dr. Gabor Maté, a physician and bestselling author of four books, includingScattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It; and John Edwards, the father of a college student who committed suicide after he was prescribed Adderall and antidepressant medications at the Harvard University Health Services clinic.

1 comment:

  1. Makes you long for The War on Drugs, where kids are pipelined from school to prison. You don't think it was an accident that Texas charged the Attorney General ( Gonzales ) and Vice President ( Cheney ) with profiteering from private prisons, do you ? And what mechanism do corporations use to make such dysfunctional policies ? Well, in government, they use leadership chosen to frustrate the aspirations of loyal employees who want to do a proper job. You might consider who you work for.