Should NT students be allowed to take "smart drugs"

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Should students be allowed to take "smart drugs"
Yes, and it will make them more able to study. 21%  21%  [ 4 ]
Yes, but it will have no useful effect 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Yes, but it will make them less able to study 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No, because it will give them an unfair advantage 47%  47%  [ 9 ]
No, but the drugs will have no useful effect on the students 26%  26%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 19

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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05 Jan 2009, 4:04 pm

The drugs you listed are stimulants. In the UK, they are defined as brain enhancers? These drugs are in widespread use in the US and are under intense scrutiny. People believe youth are overmedicated. Don't know about the UK. Would there be widespread opposition?



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05 Jan 2009, 4:48 pm

If it improves people, go ahead then...


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05 Jan 2009, 5:07 pm

I really don't care what drugs people put into their bodies. It's not my problem if they need to use them. In fact, I don't care what drug people take, as long as I'm not involved. There are dangers from Methamphetamine, Methylphenidate, and like drugs; the most dangerous being sudden death syndrome. Some people will take those risks, and I don't care about them.



ike
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06 Jan 2009, 12:30 am

Kangoogle wrote:
ike wrote:
Kangoogle wrote:
Morally I think they are cheats. In the same way as people who go to private school, have private tuition etc are. In practise if they made the drugs available all students however - you would stop people in the know getting an advantage over other students.


Special ed in public schools at least in the US frankly sucks. For a lot of kids with special needs like us, a private school is leveling the playing field instead of creating an unfair advantage.

Firstly I am going to point out here that I live in the UK. However imagine a system where NT's cannot go out and buy private education and so on - or any form of educational advantage. It would mean that smart Aspies win at the examination system game in most cases, therefore jump the queue in the social order. A meritocratic system favours ourselves above pretty much every other group. Of course we have to be careful to constrain meritocracy to the intellectual sphere in making such a system.


Doesn't really work out that way here... Part of the reason why it doesn't work out that way is because the education system is far too subjective and prone to the teachers' biases. So if a given student is a "problem kid" as may be commonly perceived of undiagnosed AS kids either they revert automatically to a generic discipline routine (that doesn't work) or they revert to shoveling the kid off into special ed, which is a joke in most places here and doesn't even attempt to teach to the students' strengths. Or maybe it's gotten better with IEDs here recently, but I was reading another thread posted earlier today by a mother of an AS/possibly "gifted" child talking about the challenge of getting the officials in question to consider any kind of focus on the kid's strengths in his IED. (Speaking of which, an IED basically means homeschooling at public school.)

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But in general I disagree with the idea that private school is somehow "cheating" -- you get a different education - that's not the same thing as a "better" education.

In the UK the statistics speak for themselves, despite only 7% of the population being educated in an independent school, in my own (high ranked) university around 40% of the students there went to one. I can certainly tell you that they are not brighter, under any form of meritocratic system most of my class would not be there.


Although that's a problem with secondary education at the university level, not a problem with primary education. I'd rather resolve the secondary ed problem where it exists, rather than imo fouling up another system to be more accommodating of a problem there. An egalitarian solution would be for all secondary education to be free - perioid - no questions asked. I don't know how to make that happen, but I'm not convinced it's impossible. That's the solution I would recommend tho.

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Whether or not it's "better" could be argued either way in a lot of cases. Socialization in public schools is a lot different than it is in private schools, and in some cases it may be that a person's later achievements in life depend upon the kind of socialization you get in a public school -- the kind that I was unable to deal with because I'm autistic.

That really is a separate cultural problem - as in the regarding of sports, music and so on as more respected within society.


Not entirely. There are some very fundamental differences in the way that (as a random example) east asians think versus the way westerners (americans specifically) think. Americans are "rugged individualists" by and large and think in ways that are analytical and consider their actions to have much impact on themselves but very little impact on those around them. Asians on the other hand are very holistic thinkers and perceive their actions as having much more widespread consequences on the people around them (and comparatively less impact on themselves). Who is more likely to solve climate change problems? I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this question and it seems to have been borne out by things like the automotive industry here in the US where more self-centered thinking on the part of the execs has resulted in bad business policies that have negatively impacted their employees, the economy and the environment -- meanwhile the asians are way ahead of us. But it's also not beyond the realm of possibility that differences in early socialization have similar effects on a person's style of thinking later in life. Each style is more likely to produce solutions to a different kind of problem (as not all problems have equivalent solutions).

So imo, educational diversity is a good thing, just like neurodiversity is for at least that reason alone. The more educational diversity we have, likely the more diversity of thought we'll have as well.

I was thinking about that thing with asians just the other day actually... I was reading an article about some science that shows it earlier today... but a couple days ago I was thinking about the delivery drivers from the local restaurants and how they think about their tips. Long story short, I suspect that while the pizza driver perceives his tips as "mine", the guy from the chinese restaurant probably perceives his tips as "ours" and puts them in a big family collection when he gets home.

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But that doesn't mean that there aren't people who actually benefit from that environment, it just means that I didn't benefit from it. And then there's homeschooling or "unschooling" in which the parent gets to decide what kind of subjects are important, which imo gives them a much better ability to teach their kids things that are actually important compared to any school (public or private) in which the demands of the state often require the school to teach things that are plainly wrong (high school history is a great example).

Personally I would get rid of the homeschooling as well. But then I am a socialist.


Socialist notions are fantastic. From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs. Absolutely.

We need a new model for achieving that ideal.

Previous attempts at socialist government were generally fascist in nature, choosing an attempt to enforce the ideal through very restrictive government policy, and in many cases ultimately not turning out much different than commercialism - an upper 2% screwing the rest for their own gain, because they were in power. We've moved away from those extremes some, but I think to some larger extent we're still stuck in a lot of that style of thinking. Mandating public school and only public school at least in the present tense I'm afraid would eliminate a lot of the incentives to strive for better education as a whole and instead of having some folks with "good" education and others with "bad" education would instead inflict bad education on everyone.

The reason why for the latter is because it would mean that everyone would be required to adhere to standards that are designed by committees of people who are still stuck in outdated ways of thinking... Committees can be virtually guaranteed to louse up the idea of educational standards. They've proven already that they not only do so but do so eagerly and vehemently fight a fair alternative when the subject happens to be history (perhaps the most important subject to get right).

The old model of socialism enforced by fascism hasn't gotten us anywhere (and although many of us are aware of this our history classes aren't even helping us understand how that worked out). Perhaps instead of focusing on the pervasive "punishment model" and how to curtail the "cheaters", we should focus instead on opening access to opportunities, an "encourage and support" model. As an example of a possible shift in thinking toward that direction (maybe even a counter-culture movement), Wikipedia just raised $6-mil in a very tough economy, mostly from private individuals who just wanted to support the idea of free knowledge.

Anyway, I know I don't have all the answers, but those are my thoughts for the moment... :)


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06 Jan 2009, 2:09 am

I have several reasons to oppose the use of "smart drugs" in the university sector.

1. A student should not be allowed to encouraged to study for the exam with the intention of then allowing what he or she has learned to slip rapidly from their mind. A student should reach a level of ability, and ten or twenty years later they should still have the understanding, knowledge and skills they acquired as students. I know that people get a bit rusty if they do not use an ability or work in a subject area, but it should be like riding a bike. You never totally forget.

The student who uses some "smart drug" might have a better short term memory and be able to cram his / her head better, but I suspect that 10 years later they will be less able to work within their subject area as a normal student who got the same grade in the exam without the use of exotic drugs.

2. The drugs may have long term effects which could create a costly and horrible public health problem. Why should I have to tolerate crazed students who have taken too many "smart drugs" doing bad things in society ?

What if the students high on smart drugs start to commit crimes or do antisocial things ?

3. Why should the tax payer have to pay for the health care costs and other social ills associated with the smart drugs. My fear is that today a student takes a smart drug to pass next week's exam, in 15 or 20 years he/she might need expensive medical treatment to deal with the after-effects.

4. The use of smart drugs to assist students learning by rote will harm the university sector by increasing the pressure on those students who have the ability to think for themselves. The purpose of the university sector is not just to teach by rote. It must create the next generation of academics and others who will then do original work within their fields.


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06 Jan 2009, 5:43 am

If anyone needed any more ***************** ****************************** proof that Britain has completely lost the plot, this ******************************** ******************************** ********************************** ************ ************************************************************************* *********************************** ************************************* should be it.************************** **************************** *************************************************** ****************************************************************** ****************************** ********************************* *********************


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Last edited by Everchanging on 07 Jan 2009, 11:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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06 Jan 2009, 5:52 am

No, just becuase one person has suggested that the goverment should consider something does not mean the whole of the nation has "lost the plot".

I think that it is better that these questions are considered rather than allowing society to sleepwalk into a state where loads of students are doing "smart drugs" in an attempt to pass their degrees.

I still think that the use of "smart drugs" or "learning drugs" by NT students should be banned.


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06 Jan 2009, 6:14 am

Woodpecker wrote:
No, just becuase one person has suggested that the goverment should consider something does not mean the whole of the nation has "lost the plot".


True. But I have failed to explain myself here, I wasn't**************************************** suggesting this alone *********** ************************** ***************** ********************************* ************************************ was proof of losing the plot, however it's a sizeable piece of a************************************* larger picture of modern life in the UK, not least of all for the young, that is at best worrying and***************** ***************************************************************** ************************************* *************************************************************** at worst, downright terrifying. The past 30 years have seen a drop******************** ***************************************************** in standards of education in the UK while at the same time, exam results have never been better - put those************************************************************ two things ************************** ************************************************************ ************************** *************************************************** ******************************** together and there's only one safe conclusion, a massive dumbing down of the assessments and examinations. That kind of dumbing down ************************************ *********************************************************** *************************** ********************************************************************** is unsustainable in the long-term***************************************************************, and if the next step is so-called smart drugs, that is very worrying.


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Last edited by Everchanging on 07 Jan 2009, 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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06 Jan 2009, 8:03 am

The issue of dumbing down and the learning drugs are only slightly related.

I think that the dumbing down will favour learning by rote, and a drug which helps a student learn by rote by being able to stay awake for days on end may have related effects on the university sector but the causes are different.

The question of dumbing down is of deep concern to many profs

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/J ... ut%201.pdf

I think that dumbing down if it is occuring is caused by political effects from the goverment, society and the higher parts of the university. The thing is that dumbing down sells newspapers in the university sector. If you tell a group of Profs that a department, section or person has been marking in a very strict way and at the same time has educated their students to a super high standard which makes them pass the exam.

Then they will be pleased, but the news will not travel as far as it will in the case of a lazy or poor quaility university teacher who dumbs down the subject and sets an easy exam to make sure that the students pass. If you read the comments of Peter Williams you will see a different picture to that painted by the pie charts and the poll.

In the past the university sector has used to be based on the idea of "'How do I make sure that no one who doesn't deserve to get through the degree gets through" nowdays it has changed to "How do I get as many people as I can up to the required standard".

The use of "smart drugs" is likely to be driven by the desire of a student to get an easy way through university, which I think is different to the reasons for "dumbing down".


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