Dr. Jan Fortune-Wood is a freelance writer and home educator. She is a supporter of Taking Children Seriously and writes on home education, autonomous education and non-coercive parenting from a libertarian perspective. Her third book, Bound To Be Free deals in depth with the hidden costs of so called ‘free’ education, including further discussion of the issues below
According to last week’s Independent on Sunday a new mental health campaign sparked off by the fear that parents may face jail over compulsory drug orders for their children if a new Bill becomes law. Not content with collecting personal and private data on parents and children via the Orwellian Connexions scheme, the Blairite regime is now proposing to parent our children for us still further by accusing parents who do not favour drugging their children of being negligent and denying their children medical treatment.
The use of the ADHD drug, Ritalin, continues to rocket – 208,000 in 2001 compared to 2,000 a decade earlier. Compulsory treatment orders are a symptom of a culture which treats children as products and an adjunct of administering a brutal, centralised ‘free’ education system. Those who do not conform to this ‘one size fits all’ educational machine are ‘bad’ and/or ‘dysfunctional’ and can be diagnosed and treated. The more the system feels threatened, the more aggressive the intervention. In a collapsing state education system so-called hyperactivity disorders such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are popular tools of control and neatly shift the focus of failure away from the non-individually responsive institution and onto the child.
There are an increasing number of doctors and psychiatrists who consider that there is no objective difference in the behaviours of so called ‘normal’ and ADHD children. There are even some, like Thomas Szasz, who put these objections vigorously, pointing out that feeding children what is effectively ‘speed’ in order to curb what is not a disease, but a ‘catch all’ for troublesome behaviour, is a matter of adult convenience and control, not of medicine.
Formerly, quacks had fake cures for real diseases; now, they claim to have real cures for fake diseases.1
When big brother is threatening to drug your children so that they can be more suited to the homogenised environments of state schools perhaps its time not only to fight back, but to ensure that more and more people are aware that they can opt out of the system entirely and choose the freedom of home education. The hidden costs of so called ‘free’; state education are on the increase – not only through massive taxation, but also via services delivered with increasing menaces to civil liberties.
Dr. Jan Fortune-Wood
1 = Chemical Straitjackets for Children by Thomas S. Szasz
© 2001 The Foundation for Economic Education