Saturday, April 30, 2005

Educational Reforms in the US, by Lezah

Educational Reforms in the US

I've been reading a lot these days about proposed educational reforms in the US. Recently Gubernatorial candidate Rob Reiner (yes, Meathead, that Rob Reiner!) has proposed mandatory pre-school for all 50 States (at this point, only 2 states offer state-sponsored pre-school).  His proposal also involves the top 1% of income earners being those who are taxed to support this venture. The proposal is based on a comparison of costs between pre-school in comparison to that of the cost of early-intervention literacy training and other interventions aimed at the not-yet-school-ready school-aged set. Figures indicate that 7% of the annual educational budget is spent on these type of programs; studies indicate that state-sponsored pre-school will decrease spending by at least 6%.  It's a good thing, as Martha would say...

On the not-so-good side is Bush's 2004 proposal entitled the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which will require "forced mental health screening for every American child...(the purpose being to) locate and treat children with undiagnosed 'mental disorders'".  Hmmm, it all sounds a bit Big Brother to me. Especially considering that parents protesting this are claiming that the big pharmaceutical companies are behind this particular push.  The earlier the diagnoses are made, obviously, the earlier children will be prescribed their particular regimes of drug therapy, and the sooner the drug companies will be raking in even more money.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm all for properly prescribed medication when and where there is a need for it, but frankly, one needs to consider the number of people who are misdiagnosed on a daily basis for all types of problems, physical and mental.  That's one very major concern right there.

Poor parenting?  Environmental factors?  Socio-economic problems?  There have been a lot of kids with the above problems who have been erroneously diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.  And the more serious maladies? Don't you think the parents or a family physician might have picked these up already?  Or am I'm being terribly naive?

I've heard the US described as being an 'asocial laboratory', and this particular proposal smacks of that very thing.  I think it's time for all the parents of America's 52 million children out there to re-establish and retain control over their children's well-being - before it's too late.


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