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Mandatory psych tests??

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Roger1, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. macrumors 65816


    On Monday morning, Alex talked to Jeff Diest from Congressman Ron Paul's office.
    Diest confirmed that Ron Paul's amendment requiring parental consent prior to government psychological testing/mental screening of all school children was not added to the bill.
    The New Freedom Initiative passed sans amendment, as it stood.
    Congress Funds Mandatory Psychological Tests for Kids

    Newsmax | November 23 2004
    One of the nation's leading medical groups, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS), decried a move by the U.S. Senate to join with the House in funding a federal program AAPS says will lead to mandatory psychological testing of every child in America – without the consent of parents.
    When the Senate considered an omnibus appropriations bill last week that included funding for grants to implement universal mental health screening for almost 60 million children, pregnant women and adults through schools and pre-schools, it approved $20 million of the $44 million sought, Kathryn Serkes, public affairs counsel for AAPS, told NewsMax.
    This $20 million matches a like amount already approved by the House, Serkes advised.
    While the funding cut of some $24 million was a little good news, suggested Serkes, whose organization has zealously opposed the the measure, she said the organization was most worried about the failure of Congress to include “parental consent” language sought by the AAPS.
    Last September, AAPS lifetime member Rep. Ron Paul, M.D., R-Texas, tried to stop the plan in its tracks by offering an amendment to the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act for FY 2005. The amendment received 95 “yes” votes, but it failed to pass.
    According to Serkes, Paul is now mulling offering stand-alone legislation in the next session to once again try and get a provision for parental consent.
    The federal bill on its face does not require mandatory mental health testing to be imposed upon states or local schools, explained Serkes.
    However, the HHS appropriations bill contains block grant money that will likely be used – as is often the case with block funding – by the various states to implement mandatory psychological testing programs for all students in the school system.
    The spending bill has its roots in the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, created by President Bush in 2002 to propose ways of eliminating waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the mental health care delivery system.
    Although the report does not specifically recommend screening all students, it does suggest that “schools are in a key position to identify the mental health problems early and to provide a link to appropriate services.”

    The bottom line, explained Serkes, is that a state receiving money under this appropriation will likely make its mental testing of kids mandatory – and not be out of synch with the federal enactment.
    The other telling point, said Serkes, is that although the relatively minimal funding at this point is certainly not enough to fund mandatory mental testing for kids countrywide, it's an ominous start:

    “Once it's established and has funding, a program exhibits the nettlesome property of being self-sustaining – it gets a life of its own. More funding follows.”

    Officials of the AAPS decry in the measure what they see as “a dangerous scheme that will heap even more coercive pressure on parents to medicate children with potentially dangerous side effects.”
    One of the most “dangerous side effects” from antidepressants commonly prescribed to children is suicide, regarding which AAPS added, “Further, even the government's own task force has concluded that mental health screening does little to prevent suicide.”
    Meanwhile, Rep. Paul says the mental testing scheme is a looming feature of "Big Brother" that if unchecked will push parental rights out of the picture:
    “At issue is the fundamental right of parents to decide what medical treatment is appropriate for their children. The notion of federal bureaucrats ordering potentially millions of youngsters to take psychotropic drugs like Ritalin strikes an emotional chord with American parents, who are sick of relinquishing more and more parental control to government.

    MORE: http://infowars.com/articles/brave_new_world/new_freedom_paul_amendment.htm

    I have no idea how accurate this website it. If this is fact true, I am really bothered by it.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    I am a school psychologist. With that in mind I can tell you that in order for me to perform ANY psychological test there is an extended process that must be followed in order to test a child for spectial education consideration. I would be very surprised if this provision (no parental permission) is strictly governed in the fine print.
    If I read this correctly and recall other info I gathered on this bill it means that they (the Gov't) are wanting to use the schools to do more than just teach children. They want to use this screen children for possible mental health problems, medical and dental etc difficulties. Why? Because if they catch these maladies early in a child's life then there is much better chance that they will recieve apprpriate medical, psychological, and dental interventions and not have these problems get worse as they get older.
    Why the schools? Because nearly all children go through the school systems of the US. Low income parents don't have to FIND the resourses: they are already at the school where their children go. Kind of a one-stop shopping. This is actually one proposal that I agree with Bush on. It has the POTENTIAL of eliminating some overlap on some social services programs. And it certainly helps out low income and rural areas.
  3. macrumors P6


    I had some basic psychological testing when I was in school. Don't remember what year.

    It is best to catch dental, medical, and psychological problems early. Prevention of problems is less expensive in the long run. There should be parental notification. Before any treatment there should be parental consent.
  4. macrumors 6502a



    This is ridiculous. My mother is a Psyhologost and people need to understand that Psychology is not a science, it's a study. The tests are far too dependent on the person giving the test rather than the patient. What I mean by that is if a psychologist thinks there is something wrong, they will do whatever necessary to prove themselves right. This is, of course, my opinion, but isn't that what psychology is in the end, an opinion?
  5. macrumors 65816


    Asphalt-proof- Since you put it that way, it helps alleviate some (but not all) of my concern. But I wonder how long they are willing to fund something like this, or will it become under-funded like certain other federal programs, thus forcing the school districts to cut programs to make this one work? Schools are strapped enough for money as is, and to push another mandate on them without proper funding would be unconsionable (sp?) of the feds.

    edit: a non educational madate, at that.
  6. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Yeah, isnt it? And wasn't it a psychological "movement" that decided Ritalin was needed in way more cases than was justified, and we now have a problem? I have an issue with the parental consent issue. But I also know that the psychologists in my district (I'm in edu) are DESPERATELY needed, and have saved quite a few kids. It's a matter of degrees here, and the answer for me isn't all that clear right now.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    It looks from the article that its already underfunded. No, funds for this program are separate from the educational component. Those funds already are mandated to other areas. It just means that service is not uniform across the country. (Some school units will have great programs and some will not... knd of like education.)
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Actually this statement applies to ALL of science. All of science is theory. just as psychology is. AND most scientists use the numbers to "prove" their pet theories. Its peer reveiw that keeps science honest. The same process that keeps psychology honest. Their is no such thing as "Big 'T' Truth" in science. Only little "t's".
  9. macrumors 6502a

    I agree 100%. Actually the article puzzles me because parental notification is really a big deal for schools. In some states you cannot give the students an anonymous survey without parental consent. So I'm really unsure how itt got left out of the language of the Bill and how it was gone so long with it not in it.
  10. macrumors 6502a



    I disagree to a point. That point being that nothing in Psychology can be scientifically proven. I.E.: Water boils at a certain temp. whereas, you can't prove someone has a mental condition, you're just aware of it. ;)
  11. macrumors member

    Hmm... No. Well first off psychology is a science. It's a common assumption to make that all psychology is related to "therapy." It's not. Therapy isn't a science , but there are divisions of psychology that are.

    To use your example...water boils at 212 degrees F, but let's say you've got a crude thermometer that only reads in 10 degree increments and what you think is water is actually water mixed with alcohol. You're findings are going to be off when you attempt to find out when water boils. Scientists working in the past did not always have access to the best of instruments and perfect situations, but that doesn't mean it's not science. Thus with psychology measuring imperfect humans and their behavior, we're using imperfect measures. We work with operational definitions that represent what a disorders major features are. And you can prove that someone has disorder X (as we have operationalized it) by looking at the DSM IV. Science doesn't mean things have to be clear cut and dry, it's just a name for the analytical approach that we take to solving problems.

    Hmmm that was kind of a tangent there.

    Basically, if they did try to introduce this testing into the schools they would NOT be conducting interviews of every child (and would not have to worry about interviewer bias.) More likely is that the government would assemble a battery of tests that would attempt to predict mental illness. Studies would be done to look at how accurate (reliable & valid) these tests are, and then they would be given to children. After looking at the scores, children that appear to be at risk might have further testing done , etc etc etc.
  12. macrumors 6502a



    I agree with you about the testing, I just don't think there can be a solid test, since every case is different. But, hey, we're both in Chicago. :D
  13. macrumors member

    Fair enough :) woo chicago! and woo macrumors allowing me to kill time at work without shooting myself out of boredom.

    - Justin
  14. macrumors 6502

  15. macrumors newbie

    Say no to testing

    I am appalled by this law. In reading the other replies to the Newsmax article, I am shocked by the lack of indignation. What right does the federal government have to test our children without our consent? Most of you seem to be focusing on the potential for early identification of mental illness and/or the inherent subjectivity of psychology.
    Apparantly, you trust our government? I don't. And I do not believe the drafters of this law are really concerned about the mental health of our children.
    We have given up enough of our privacy to this government in the last 3 years. I am not going to give up my parental rights.
    Wake up America! The current government is hoping you are not paying attention while they sneak laws like this past you in the middle of the night. The Republican leaders of this Congress don't even think they have to follow their own procedural rules. So they figure they can give another gift to the drug companies--the forced medication of our children--while we sleep.
    Furthermore, the Bush administration will not tolerate dissent. The danger of one party rule is always overreaching and the tendency to do anything to preserve and expand their power. This law is an abuse of power and we should stop this law in its tracks.
    Our democracy is being stolen from us in broad daylight while the Ukrianians protest a fraudulent vote count. As the Ukrainians know, exit polls are always right. No, wait, didn't our exit polls show Bush losing badly? Wasn't it funny hearing the Republicans criticizing the election results in Ukraine because the exit polls showed the other Viktor winning?
    Everybody needs to start paying attention. Get your news from the internet. The mainstream media is a big part of the problem. They are not reporting the truth to us.
  16. macrumors 65816


    I'll agree that most of the mainstream media distorts the news in the name of at least their advertising budgets, if not their vested interests. But internet news isn't "pure" just because it isn't run by conglomerates. There's just as many sources on the internet who filter news through their own opinions, agendas, and biases; the closest you're going to get to just plain news is to get yourself an AP/Reuters newsfeed, and get to stuff before it's funneled to you through ANY third party.

    But about the original topic. I can think of at least one excellent reason not to have parental consent for psychological screening: parental child abuse. Allowing the abusers to prevent scrutiny of their victims would deny the benefits of any psych screening to those who needed it most.

    And I can see a lot of well-meaning parents who are out of touch with their kids refusing to let the Big Bad Government evaluate their offspring, who nevertheless might have emotional or psychological problems that need immediate intervention. Like, say, the Columbine shooters, whose parents swear they didn't have a clue that their darling sons were planning a mass-murder/suicide. In fact this law is probably far more about school violence and child abuse than it is about Bush and co. playing Big Brother.

    Now if the law also mandated treatment without parental consent, that would be a problem.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Gosh after reading that I was looking for my tinfoil hat. :)
    Look, do I trusst the gov't: no. But I do tend to trust the people who administer testing, who teach our children, and provide medical care for our children. The "gov't" does not do the the testing. Everyday people who sincerely care about children's wellbeing do this. They care so much that they work for peanuts in the public schools systems when they could earn much more in the private sector. Tying the testing of children to the election results is tenuous at best. At the risk of offending some: I am a Democrat. I don't trust Bush and Co. but do I think they stole the election: No. They just did a better job of getting their message out. (Great now you've offically hijacked this thread!)

    The nuts and bolts of this legislation are probably (I say probably because I really don't know the intent) is an opt-in or opt-out for GROUP psychological testing. Much like your SATs'. If the parents do not want their child to be tested they fill out a paper (sent home earlier) and say so otherwise they assume you want your child tested. THe objection by these groups want opt-in language meaning that they send home a paper telling you about the testing and if you WANT the child tested you send the paper back giving permission. Otherwise they assume you do not want testing. Once again I am just guessing.

    If the gov't really wanted to give you medication wouldn't they just put it in your drinking water? Seems a lot easier and devious.

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