Nudge, push, shove into the Common Core
We can all agree that learning disabilities and mental illness a very real and serious matter. One hopes that because of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) a student soars to new heights; but there are many kids who have been placed in special education who may be wrongfully diagnosed, done in by the stroke of a pen on an observational checklist. Why? Meltdown? Fresh mouth? Incomplete homework? Goofing off? Stealing? Bullying? Teacher doesn't like the kid? These days, being a problem, having a problem or posing a perceived threat, is a subjective, though, documented art. Even an accusation based on an opinion can land a kid in a "think it through" group therapy lunchtime program, but why an IEP?
Look, every parent who knows the heartbreak of a principal saying that their child has a learning disability or an emotional disturbance also knows the drill. A treadmill of paperwork, SST (Student Support Team) and IEP meetings, plans, goal setting, annual meetings, emergency meetings, patches and pills, uppers, downers, and for some, powerful psychotropic drugs. In the case of ADHD, our old friend Ritalin is alive and well parading around in new formulations with catchy brand names.
Yet, for all these theoretical diagnoses and well staffed case managers and school psychologists on the payroll, plus outside psychiatrists sucked into public education's mental health vortex at hefty per hour rates, there is still no scientific or physiological medical test on record for ADHD. Fancy websites have popped up with full-color online diagrams of the afflicted mind, but no child has been given a brain scan or a blood or urine test to clinically find this dysfunction. Nor is there a "gene" for it. People may argue for or against it but, bottom line, to date, no one has anyone proven ADHD physiologically exists.
These day, states like California give their public school children behavioral questionnaires that are left way open to interpretation. The latest shove pushes primitive data-mining tactics in the guise of maintaining "safe schools"? So, what raises red flags in the news today? An NRA t-shirt? Today it's an emblem or a drawing. Under the Common Core, we face one-size-fits-all education. What happens to the curious child asking about the other side of the climate change story? What becomes of the kid who disputes the historical accuracy of a CCSS primary source document? What about that boy in his t-shirt? What happens when a child refuses to take the Common Core assessment(s)?
At what point does everything our students say or do during school hours go under the perceived or real microscopic lens of mental illness? At what point does this nudge, push or shove a child right onto an IEP?
Merrill Hope writes for City on a Hill, Save America Foundation and has freelanced pieces on Lady Patriots. Over the years she inked articles for the Hollywood Reporter and Backstage West. She's married, the mother of a teenager (God help her!) & a dachshund lover. Follow her at Merrill Hope @outoftheboxmom.
This article originally appeared on http://www.saveamericafoundation.com