In today's New York Times, there is an article entitled, The Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill. I think we can look at the problem raised here, along with other drug problems, as connected to homework policy. Here is the comment I made in The New York Times, along with a more extensive video, expanding on these points.
I attended college in the late 1960s, amphetamines were being readily
prescribed as diet pills, the way they are now being prescribed for ADHD. Nearly
anyone could get them at the student health center. At finals, large numbers of
students used those pills to help them stay up and pull all-nighters. I could
not have imagined that happening at the high school level. We chose to go to college,
and we entered with the knowledge that 16 hours of school was a full time load
and that we would be expected to spend hours in the dorm or in the library,
with our peers, continuing our work, and that would sometimes call for the
all-nighter. Today, children attend school (mandatory education) over thirty
hours a week, but are expected to come home and continue working (in a space
they occupy with their parents, not their school peers), and manage hours of
work. Are we surprised that they resort to pills to help get them through? I
should also add that although there are some kids who are motivated and driven
to do well and use uppers, there are other kids who are overwhelmed by the
demands, are constantly criticized, get turned off to school, and are at
greater risk of using other types of drugs.
Dr. Kenneth Goldberg is a clinical psychologist with 35 years of professional experience in dealing with many different psychological issues. He is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers and currently works in his own private practice.
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