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Old 04-25-2005, 12:20 PM
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Seich30 Seich30 is offline
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No Dentist Left Behind

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.

Old 04-25-2005, 02:03 PM
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Amanda Amanda is offline
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Posts: 3,722
Former K/1 Teacher
That's a great way to help people understand NCLB! Thanks for sharing!
Old 04-25-2005, 02:05 PM
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love2teach love2teach is offline
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Posts: 1,820
this is great! I love it!
Old 04-25-2005, 04:26 PM
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litlmama litlmama is offline
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:21 PM
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Steph-ernie Steph-ernie is offline
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Posts: 1,142
2nd Grade Teacher
I love that!
Old 04-26-2005, 09:03 PM
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sdhudgins sdhudgins is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 338
Stuttgart, AR
Band, Choir, 5th/6th gen music
I have seen this a couple times.. and always love it!

Isn't it the truth
Old 05-14-2005, 11:50 PM
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lowrie lowrie is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 178
Manitoba, Canada
ha! great i'm going to share this with my friend who teaches in NC!!

Old 05-17-2005, 03:22 PM
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LadyJet02 LadyJet02 is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 12
Awesome...and sadly true!

dentist, left

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