Friday, January 28, 2005

Courtesy of EdWatch:

Excerpts from: WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY?
B. K. Eakman: [citation to be supplied later]

A new nationwide initiative has been quietly in the making since 2002...
The New Freedom Initiative ­ a plan to screen the entire U.S. population for mental illness and to provide a cradle-to-grave continuum of services for those identified as mentally ill or at risk of becoming so.Under the plan, schools would become the hub of the screening process ­ not only for children, but for their parents and teachers.There are even components aimed at senior citizens, pregnant women, and new mothers...
Recently, the New Freedom Commission designated TMAP a “model” medication treatment plan, whereupon President Bush instructed more than 25 federal agencies to develop a nationwide “implementation plan.” ...
Kevin P. Dwyer, president of the National Association of School Psychologists,... [is a] typical defender of early, mass screening. This “valuable information [is] almost impossible to obtain from any other source…,” Dwyer once complained. True, most adults would see right through such attempts.That is why he worries that the flood of lawsuits from parents over invasive, personal test questions under the cover of academic testing (in Virginia, Arizona, Utah, Pennsylvania, among other states) might result in a negative court ruling that would prompt legislators to nix all psychological surveys in schools.
Special interests as well as various social “service” agencies and universities all pitch “prevention” programs (many of them quasi-political, such as those on AIDS awareness), to federal agencies in an effort to get tell-all polls into America’s classrooms.Most are “What-would-you-do-if…?” questionnaires and self-reports that focus on sex, race, depression, drugs, and parents.These surveys are followed by a smorgasbord of nonacademic programs.The rationale is that it is in the best interests of the child and society to “[create] a State-level structure for school-based mental health services to provide consistent State-level leadership and collaboration between education, general health, and mental health systems.”The enabling vehicle for the New Freedom Initiative is the No Child Left Behind Act, ostensibly to “fulfill the promise of NCLB…by remov[ing] the emotional, behavioral, and academic barriers that interfere with student success in school.” ...
The commission aims not only to assess youngsters, but “to expand school mental health programs and evaluate parents”­ through Parts B and C of IDEA.
The commission advocates examining parents and homes for anything that might point to a “physical or mental condition [with] a high probability of resulting in a [child’s] developmental delay” ­ something way beyond the present capabilities of the mental health profession ­ beginning with a mandatory Nurse-Family Partnership component.
Why the extraordinary emphasis on parents?The Commission and, indeed, most of the mental health community believe that mental “disorders” of parents occurring before children reach the age of six “can interfere with critical emotional, cognitive, and physical development, and portend a lifetime of problems in school, at home, and in the community.”Therefore, “treating the parents’ mental health problems also benefits the child.”
“Treating parents” means psychotherapy and drugs, and the initiative calls for a mandate to provide “social and emotional check-ups” in all primary healthcare facilities.This means parents are supposed to be surreptitiously assessed for mental “illness” every time they walk into their physician’s office...
If you think the “coercion” scenario is too strong, consider:In August 2003, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation announced the results of their $1.2 million, taxpayer-funded study. It stated, essentially, that traditionalists are mentally disturbed.
Scholars from the Universities of Maryland, California at Berkeley, and Stanford had determined that social conservatives, in particular, suffer from “mental rigidity,” “dogmatism,” and “uncertainty avoidance,” together with associated indicators for mental illness.Some conservatives and political pundits chortled over the so-called study, but the fact remains that nothing marginalizes a person faster today than a suggestion of being mentally unbalanced. The 20-year-long practice of psychographic (emotional-attitudinal) profiling under the cover of academic testing in schools is already intimidating conservative and Christian students and their parents into silence.

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