What do a medical diagnosis and education reform have in common?
Two things: (1) complex matters reduced to a few letters, and (2) failing children.
First, consider ADHD. Below are some readings to help interrogate how this diagnosis has many significant problems, misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis among them, some of which are related to the high-stakes accountability movement in education:
- Medicating ADHD in the Brave New World of High-Stakes Accountability
- Don’t Rush to Saddle Children With the A.D.H.D. Label, Donna Ford
- Worrying Disparities in Diagnosis of Black and White Children, Keith B. Wilson
- Failure to Conform Accounts for Most A.D.H.D. Diagnoses, Susan Hawthorne
- Is It Really A.D.H.D. or Just Immaturity? KJ Dell’Antonia
Next, a growing list of alphabet (toxic) soup is assaulting our schools and students under the umbrella of “state takeover” approaches, targeting mostly high-poverty and racial minority schools.
RSD, ASD, OSD, and EAA—among others—have gained political momentum built on propaganda and not results. Below is a reader addressing the failures of state takeover plans for schools:
- Investing In What Works, Leigh Dingerson, et al. (Southern Education Foundation)
- State Takeovers of Low-Performing Schools: A Record of Academic Failure, Financial Mismanagement & Student Harm
- Whose Choice? Student Experiences and Outcomes in the New Orleans School Marketplace, Frank Adamson, Channa Cook-Harvey, and Linda Darling-Hammond
- Connecting Dots of ASD Advocacy: Don’t Buy It
- A Failing Grade for K-12 State Takeovers, Kent McGuire, Katherine Dunn, Kate Shaw, and Adam Schott
Finally, misdiagnosing and over-diagnosing ADHD along with partisan-political state takeovers of schools are targeting and hurting vulnerable populations of students—students who need the most support to overcome the obstacles of their lives not of their own making.