No Dentist Left Behind

Discussion in 'No Child Left Behind' started by Seich30, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Seich30

    Seich30 Comrade

    Feb 20, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Apr 25, 2005

    I got this email today at school, thought I'd share. :)

    No Dentist Left Behind

    My dentist is great! He sends me reminders so I don't forget

    Check-ups. He uses the latest techniques based on research. He never hurts me, and

    I've got all my teeth. When I ran into him the other day, I was eager to see if he'd

    heard about the new state program. I knew he'd think it was great.

    "Did you hear about the new state program to measure

    effectiveness of dentists with their young patients?" I said. "No," he said. He didn't seem

    too thrilled. "How will they do that?" "It's quite simple," I said. "They will

    just count the number of cavities each patient has at age 10, 14, and 18 and

    average that to determine a dentist's rating. Dentists will be rated as excellent, good, average, below

    average, and unsatisfactory. That way parents will know which are the best

    dentists. The plan will also encourage the less effective dentists to get

    better," I ! ; said. "Poor dentists who don't improve could lose their licenses to


    "That's terrible," he said. "What? That's not a good attitude," I

    said. "Don't you think we should try to improve children's dental health in

    this state?" "Sure I do," he said, "but that's not a fair way to determine who

    is practicing good dentistry." "Why not?", I said. "It makes perfect

    sense to me."

    "Well, it's so obvious," he said. "Don't you see that dentists

    don't all work with the same clientele, and that much depends on things we

    can't control? For example, I work in a rural area with a high percentage of

    patients from deprived homes, while some of my colleagues work in upper middle-

    class neighborhoods. Many of the parents I work with don't bring their children to see

    me until there is some kind of problem, and I don't get to do much

    preventive work. Also, more educated parents who understand the relationship

    between sugar and decay. To top it all off, so many of my clients have well water which

    is untreated and has no fluoride in it. Do you have any idea how much

    difference early use of fluoride can make?"

    "It sounds like you're making excuses," I said. "I can't believe

    that you, my dentist, would be so defensive. After all, you do a great job,

    and you needn't fear a little accountability."

    "I am not being defensive!" he said. "My best patients are as

    good as anyone's, my work is as good as anyone's, but my average cavity count is

    going to be higher than a lot of other dentists because I chose to work where

    I am needed most."

    "Don't get touchy," I said. "Touchy?" he said. His face had

    turned red, and from the way he was clenching and unclenching his jaws, I was afraid he was going to damage his

    teeth. "Try furious! In a system like this, I will end up being rated

    average, below average, or worse. The few educated patients I have who see these

    ratings may believe this so-called rating is an actual measure of my ability

    and proficiency as a dentist. They may leave me, and I'll be left

    with only the most needy patients. And my cavity average score will get even

    worse. On top of that, how will I attract good dental hygienists and other

    excellent dentists to my practice if it is labeled below average?"

    "I think you are overreacting," I said. "'Complaining, excuse-

    making and stonewalling won't improve dental health'...I am quoting from a

    leading member of the DOC," I noted. "What's the DOC?" he asked. "It's

    the Dental Oversight Committee," I said, "a group made up of mostly lay

    persons to make sure dentistry in this state gets improved. "Spare me," he said, "I can't believe this. Reasonable people won't buy it," he said hopefully.

    The program sounded reasonable to me, so I asked, "How else would

    you measure good dentistry?" "Come watch me work," he said. "Observe my

    processes." "That's too complicated, expensive and time- consuming," I

    said. "Cavities re the bottom line, and you can't argue with the bottom line.

    It's an absolute measure." "That's what I'm afraid my parents and

    prospective patients will think. This can't be happening," he said despairingly.

    "Now, now," I said, "don't despair. The state will help you

    some." "How?" he asked. "If you receive a poor rating, they'll send a dentist who

    is rated excellent to help straighten you out," I said brightly. "You

    mean," he said, "they'll send a dentist with a wealthy clientele to show me how

    to work on severe juvenile dental problems with which I have probably had

    much more experience? BIG HELP!"

    "There you go again," I said. "You aren't acting professionally

    at all." "You don't get it," he said. "Doing this would be like grading schools

    and teachers on an average score made on a test of children's progress with no

    regard to influences outside the school, the home, the community served and

    stuff like that. Why would they do something so unfair to dentists? No one

    would ever think of doing that to schools."

    I just shook my head sadly, but he had brightened. "I'm going to

    write my representatives and senators," he said. "I'll use the school

    analogy. Surely they will see the point." He walked off with that look of hope

    mixed with fear and suppressed anger that I, a teacher, see in the mirror so

    often lately.

    If you don't understand why educators resent the recent federal

    NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT, this may help. If you do understand, you'll enjoy

    this analogy, which was forwarded by John S. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools

    for the Lancaster County, PA, School District.
  3. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Feb 28, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Apr 25, 2005

    That's a great way to help people understand NCLB! Thanks for sharing!
  4. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

    Aug 13, 2003
    Likes Received:

    Apr 25, 2005

    this is great! I love it!
  5. litlmama

    litlmama Comrade

    Jan 25, 2005
    Likes Received:

    Apr 25, 2005

  6. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

    Oct 24, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Apr 25, 2005

    I love that!
  7. sdhudgins

    sdhudgins Comrade

    Dec 28, 2004
    Likes Received:

    Apr 26, 2005

    I have seen this a couple times.. and always love it!

    Isn't it the truth
  8. lowrie

    lowrie Companion

    Apr 23, 2005
    Likes Received:

    May 15, 2005

    ha! great :) i'm going to share this with my friend who teaches in NC!!

  9. LadyJet02

    LadyJet02 Rookie

    May 17, 2005
    Likes Received:

    May 17, 2005

    Awesome...and sadly true!

Share This Page