No Tooth Left Behind

Discussion in 'Education' started by Hobbit, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Hobbit

    Hobbit Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2004
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    Near Atlanta, GA
    This is paraphrased from an e-mail my mom got, and is indicative of my objections to federally mandated school reforms, one of my few objections to the current administration (aren't Republicans supposed to be for smaller government?).

    Patient: So, have you heard about this new "No Tooth Left Behind Act?"

    Dentist: Yeah, and I think it stinks.

    Patient: How can you say that? It's supposed to reform dentistry across the nation.

    Dentist: It judges dentists on false criteria instead of actually observing skill.

    Patient: That's too much trouble, so it simply judges you on how many cavities your patients get.

    Dentist: Yeah, but that rarely reflects on skill. This is a rural area. That means that many of my patients are back-country raised and will always have more cavities. My skill can't make up for flouride free well water and bad brushing and flossing habits learned early, not to mention that they can't really afford the really advanced prevention techniques.

    Patient: So how is that unfair?

    Dentist: A monkey with a drill and some investment capital could open an office in the Hamptons and never see a cavity.

    Patient: I'm not following you.

    Dentist: Upper class patients typically have better hygeine habits and greater access to cavity prevention tools, making them far less likely to get cavities than rural residents who don't encourage good brushing habits and can't afford daily flouride treatment. I mean, look at me. I graduated top of my class, but decided to come back to this old neighborhood. My patients average about 4 cavities a year before age 20 and are lucky that I can keep them off dentures through age 60. My dental school roommate, on the other hand, is an admittedly mediocre dentist, but set up shop in northern Virginia and services rich lobbyists and politicians. He might see 4 cavities total in a really bad year.

    Patient: But if you average a lot of cavities, the government gives you help from a higher rated dentist.

    Dentist: What, you mean like my old roommate who would probably faint if he ever had to do a root canal, something I have to do almost every week? Not to mention that the results are published, and after seeing a poor rating from me, my patients might try to switch to an overpriced urban dentist or stop going altogether, causing even more damage to their already rotten teeth.

    Patient: Maybe you're right. I mean, rating dentists on the number of cavities their patients have would probably by like, I dunno, rating teachers on how well their students score on standardized tests, and that's just stupid.

    Dentist: All done.

    Patient: Already? While I was talking the whole time?

    Dentist: Top of my class...

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