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Source: examiner

Since 1999 academic proficiency guidelines (followed up by testing) has made the issue of public education in California a back burner subject. It has been reported that recent test scores show gradual but consistent growth.

But do elevations in student test scores prove kids are getting a better education or are smarter? Maybe schools have just become more apt at teaching students to perform better on tests? I would rather my son develop street smarts as opposed to book smarts. This is indicative of critical thinking. Academic success shows an ability to recite lessons learned, but not intelligence raised.

Many studies done under the color of authority are just as likely to be biased and misleading as studies conducted and paid for by special interests. For instance, the American Dental Association has concluded that ‘silver’ fillings (an amalgam of silver and mercury) poses no threat to the patient. The statement contradicts what it known about mercury. A fact about mercury from three federal websites:

1. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov) “Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury. It releases low levels of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse

effects in the brain and the kidneys.”

2. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov) “When amalgam fillings are placed in or removed from teeth, they can release a small amount of mercury vapor. Amalgam can also release small amounts of mercury vapor during chewing,

inhaling or ingesting. High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys.”

3. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (www.nih.gov) “Mercury as an amalgam can be toxic if it is mishandled during placement or removal.”

The federal agencies do not implicitly state that mercury fillings are a health risk. The explanation I have found is that the FDA, influenced by the lobby of the ADA, has categorized mercury amalgam fillings as a ‘prosthetic device’ rather than a hazardous substance. Taking into consideration the procedures the EPA gives for cleaning up a broken fluorescent light bulb (clear the room, wear gloves, cover mouth, no vacuuming and disposal at EPA approved waste site), how could it be safe to put this stuff in one’s mouth? A CFL bulb has only a tiny fraction of the amount of mercury as an amalgam filling.

To arrive at the truth about the effectiveness of standardized testing means believing in the results given by the state. Thus, one has to take their word for it and believe it or not.

We can trust ourselves and show faith towards the political system but we should always question the motivations of the participants. My point is, and it is a recurring theme with my articles; do not trust any institution, public or private, without first knowing who and what kind of person your child will be under the care of.

The mission statement of an institution (church, scouts, sports league, etc.) may be noble, but the representative not.

Inform yourself. Inform your child.

This is called being street smart.

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