Washington D.C.: Several major drug companies that produce drugs to counter Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children have come out against new legislation that calls for drastic educational reform. The legislation, supported by leading Democrats, the Parent-Teacher Association, and National Education Association, seeks to substantially change curriculum in public schools, adding more free-thinking, artistic, and participatory activities to standard lesson plans. According to the NEA, the legislation will “address the problem of an increasingly unfocused and hyper-active student population” by making learning “more creative, imaginative, and interactive for students.”
Drug companies, though, are arguing that such changes are an unnecessary waste of tax payers money. Research conducted by drug companies concludes that the American public education environment is already at its “totally most exciting possible level”. John Gutler, CEO of Eli Lilly, a leading pharmaceutical company that produces the ADHD drug Straterra, characterized the educational reform bill as “a threat to the jubilant fun-filled street parade that is American public education”.
“Public education in America is absolutely enthralling,” argued Gutler, “Even though I, myself, never attended public schools, other people have told me of the amazing activities they took part in as a student- such as filling out vocabulary crossword puzzles everyday and listening to teachers give hour long lectures on how to remember the order of the planets. My Very Excellent Mother. . .something, something, something.” Gutler believes that any student who can not pay attention during such “clearly phenomenal” educational activities must have “serious psychological and behavioral problems” that need to be addressed through drug therapy.
“Really, we can not just cover up the very real chemical imbalances in the brains of children who suffer from ADHD by turning the classroom into a brothel of the mind. These kids need to learn their times tables by reciting them over and over again for three hours straight. And in my opinion, that is really really fun. Really,” said Gutler.
Recent research on ADHD, though, seems to support the need for educational reform. Dr. Wendy Lee, Duke University professor and author of the scientific article “Why the Hell Can’t I Play With My Food?”, explained that "there are only so many math worksheets and character building house chores one can do before one starts flinging erasers across the room and eating glue. Our research concludes that we might have to re-diagnose millions of young people who supposedly have ADHD with just a severe case of boredom."
In fact, Dr. Lee argued that we should be more concerned with so-called “model students”, children who have no need for ADHD drugs, have no problem paying attention in school and who, in fact, might even like school. "Because really," said Dr. Lee, "how could a normal kid spend half a day learning the capitals of all 50 states and not want to color their entire body with a scented Magic Marker?"
Currently, the bill is being held up in the Senate, where many conservative senators are hesitant to support the controversial legislation, unwilling to risk the loss of significant political donations from drug companies. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R) commented that “it’s hard to tell what is better for the young people of America, running in endless circles around their desks during a two hour quiet reading time or, under the new curriculum, learning physics by constructing and launching rockets made out of popsicle sticks with the guidance of NASA scientists. But either way, it really won’t hurt parents to sprinkle Ritalin in their child’s bowl of Fruit Loops every morning.”