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This is a guest post from Karen Schroeder, President of Advocates for Academic Freedom.
Corporations buying into the federal healthcare data system using huge profits made from creating federal tests aligned with Common Core are destroying opportunities for ADHD kids.
The fears of many parents of ADHD kids will likely come true. Their child’s opportunities will be limited by an inanimate object created by a corporation that the parent cannot hold accountable.
Currently, American kids can be kids. Students who struggle can have bright futures when families and educators allow second chances for them. Inanimate testing machines consider only programmed data and are incapable of identifying which ADHD student may have creative potential.
The first U.S. created tool for the objective measurement of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is The Quotient ADHD Test, now owned by Pearson, an international testing company. ADHD is a medical diagnosis. Pediatric neurologists and psychiatrists test children before making the diagnosis. A child’s hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are measured to identify an ADHD student.
According to Pearson, ADHD symptoms persist into adulthood for 60 % of the cases making it difficult for the patient to “control behavior and may have serious consequences, including failure in school, family stress and disruption, depression, problems with relationships, substance abuse, delinquency, risk for accidental injuries and job failure.” This definition ignores the fact that successful innovators, artists, and creative people often deal with dyslexia, ADHD, and many other alphabet labels. Students at every IQ level can be affected by ADHD.
One of Pearson’s many subsidiaries is Pearson PLC, a British-based media company, which will receive additional federal dollars to develop a new GED test that is aligned with Common Core State Standards. Educators, parents, and students are promised that the test will better prepare students for college and careers.
However, the American Council on Education will offer a “transition network that connects GED test takers to career and postsecondary educational opportunities.” Molly Corbett Broad, president of the ACE, explained that personal counseling to assist in the decision to pursue higher education or to go directly into a job will be provided by school officials. This will minimize any influence parents may have on a child and on the expectations they are allowed to have for him.
Pearson’s have invested in political campaigns and gained federal and international involvement in the medical tests provided for our children. Will parents and children be free to refuse taking federally aligned tests? Will the data collected be protected?
If the problems with the National Security Agency and the Internal Revenue Service represent our government’s ability to protect privacy, every citizen should be concerned for the future of these kids. All medical information will be under government control through Obamacare.
According to Pearson’s press release, the purchase of most of the assets of the BioBehavioral Diagnostics Company (BioBDx) which creates the ADHD test “marks a strategic entry into healthcare markets for Pearson, the world leader in clinical and educational assessment for learners.”
According to the Brookings Institute and others, the states’ cost for testing is expected to increase by 85% and Pearson is contracted to provide 39% of the testing tools available.
When internationally accumulated data follows a student throughout his career, will that student be allowed to fulfill his work, educational, and personal goals? Will surrendering responsibility for testing to the federal government and international companies limit America’s most creative, innovative students by a stereo-typical label?
We must protect a student’s privacy, his right to mature at his own pace, and his right to a second chance. That happens most easily when the federal government is OUT of education and citizens monitor who creates the tests, who collects the data, and how that data is used. Parents have a right to monitor testing and data collection by implementing local control of schools.
Karen Schroeder is President of Advocates for Academic Freedom, a member of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, an experienced public school teacher, and an educational consultant. Karen can be reached at kpfschroeder@centurylink.
net or by calling715-234-5072.