Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Get 'em young, train 'em right: dope testing for schoolchildren in Taichung

Steve contemplates the beauty of a soon to be drug tested landscape

Don't miss Far Eastern Sweet Potato's disturbing post on the apparent pattern of organized crime attacks on critics of Beijing in Hong Kong: a preview of what will happen here? It certainly worked that way in the martial law days. But here at home in the Intelligent City of 2013, the City is mandating massive drug testing for school students (Chinese). Taichung AmCham sent around an English summary:
While the city had previously announced plans to increase the numbers of students pulled out for urine drug testing, this week saw the announcement of some firm numbers--including a pledge to conduct a minimum over 4000 such tests on students in junior and senior high schools and vocational schools. This compares with a mere 193 such tests conducted last year and only 71 conducted so far this year. The city in February announced the standards for determining which students will be targeted, which ranged from the very specific, such as if the parents of the student have a record of taking drugs or the student is found in an internet cafe. Other standards are considerably more subjective, such as if the student arouses suspicions of a fellow student and is backed by a teacher or simply exhibits ‘odd behavior’. They also announced in February that the policy does not require parental consent. Other actions announced include plans to try and get all students, campuses and communities to act as enforcement gatekeepers and a plan for schools to ‘intimidate’ students by telling them drug abuse harms the bladder, which could lead to them having to attend school in diapers. 
This program incorporates some of the worst features of Taiwan schools, including the use of students to rat on one another, a feature that begins from the first day of elementary school. "Being found in an internet cafe" can trigger a drug test? And exhibiting "odd behavior?" This is sick. There will be many false positives and as in all things official in Taiwan, the real dopers will soon learn how to defeat the test. Soon everyone's locker will look like Jude Law's refrigerator in Gattaca, with bags of clean urine hanging from every nail... and if a test is positive, will they test again? And if it is positive, will that result in a permanent record, arrest, and trial? And who is paying for all these tests? The stupidity of this is monumental. You can see how students will use it to hassle kids who are different or who they have grudges with...... this isn't enforcing drug laws, it's enforcing conformity....

Hopefully this program will stay, and die, here in Taichung.....
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Mike Fagan said...

Yes, that's why everyone knows that State control of education is a good thing. Right?

Come on, man.

With the advent of the web, and the ever increasing availability of information and ever decreasing costs of transmission, there really is no legitimate economic reason for schools anymore. Their purpose as instruments of socio-political control is now completely transparent. It couldn't be more obvious: they actually still practice a form of part-time slavery in forcing the students into stupid, menial cleaning tasks instead of hiring women from the Phillipines or Vietnam.

The sooner that sending your children to school is recognized as the child abuse that it is, the better.

James said...

Disgraceful.The ratting stuff is spot on. When my son came from school the first week and told me about the monitor system where someone is appointed to be chief grass each week,writing down the names of people he sees talking or what-not, I was disgusted. Thankfully, he's a good lad and said he didn't generally write anyone's name on the board. Trouble is, id teacher sees your not hitting your snitch quota ...

As for you, MF, god you don't half spout some codswallop. The problem is, it's often sandwiched in between half truths (the slavery of the menial tasks). School (everywhere) is far from perfect, but the idea that the Internet will in all cases just magically function as some self-learning tool without some basic organised system of learning (at least during the early, formative years) is just silly. For many families, full-time home schooling is simply not an option.

It betrays a telling lack of insight into the enormous range of ways in which children learn and how what might be suited to solitary genius Michael Fagan may not be best for others.

It also totally ignores the socialisation aspect, which - if anything - is the most important part of learning in a school environment.

Could you outline what your conception of self-learning with books and the Internet from, say, age five would entail, without an adult there to guide you javascript:void(0)for a good portion of the time?

les said...

The same is happening on the roads. Motorists are being encouraged with cash bonuses to make traffic cases for the police. The cops get more time to sit on their asses and do nothing while Joe Citizen brings them the cases on a plate.
Do we want to live in a society where our neighbors are turning us in for trivial offenses just for a small amount of cash? This is only going to worsen the mindset where all strangers are enemies and only close friends and family can be trusted or treated cordially.

Mike Fagan said...

I'm not getting paid to sit here with the big crayon and colour in all the different types of homeschooling options for you James. Do your own reading.

I'll just point out that cramming all kinds of different children into one building with one curriculum is obviously at odds with the "enormous range of ways in which children learn". Failure has an "enormous range" too.

Steven Crook said...

For years, a major private high school down south has been testing the urine of all its students at regular intervals. It's one of their selling points - keep the kids out of trouble,

Anonymous said...

On a different note, as the mother of a child with special needs, I'm concerned how this will affect kids that have special needs. Particularly those who may be high-functioning and move into Taichung. Will they then need to be drug tested because they are different. There are also several mental illness that first manifest themselves in the later teenage years. This may cause students to act differently. Instead of getting them mental health treatment, we drug test them. That is so useful.