Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crack babies aren't really crack babies?

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:25 AM Permalink

This article in the NYT today is saying that the epidemic that the media used to go on about, crack babies, really wasn't much of an epidemic after all.
“Are there differences? Yes,” said Barry M. Lester, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University who directs the Maternal Lifestyle Study, a large federally financed study of children exposed to cocaine in the womb. “Are they reliable and persistent? Yes. Are they big? No.”

Cocaine is undoubtedly bad for the fetus. But experts say its effects are less severe than those of alcohol and are comparable to those of tobacco — two legal substances that are used much more often by pregnant women, despite health warnings.
I beg to differ.

At some point during the 90s, Mr. Vidiot, a teacher at the time, was brought into a meeting with all the other teachers at the high school he worked in and it was announced by the school's administration that the "crack babies were about to start high school." It was a big meeting and a big warning to the teachers that their jobs were about to get exponentially difficult. He says that when the influx started, it was obvious that they were different than the kids who weren't crack babies. Ten years later, after the crack epidemic has passed, he says that he can tell he doesn't have that many crack babies in his classrooms.

There have always been kids from that socioeconomic background, so certain variables like diet, parental neglect, violence, would be a constant. Then, suddenly, some kids started having more problems. The only new variable would be the crack. Now, these researchers are saying the whole crack-baby thing isn't all that big of a deal. But at the time, it was noticeable and now, as far as Mr. Vidiot can tell, since crack isn't as big a problem, the kids aren't having the same sort of problems.

So, why would they want to lessen the importance of crack? Why would they want to downplay that? The only thing we can think of is that all the kids in the system that are from the same socioeconomic backgrounds that the crack babies came from are performing badly and they need a way to explain that poor performance away that doesn't blame the schools. What they don't want anyone to look at is the fact that the system has just plain failed. It doesn't educate anybody and it hasn't for years. Add to that the dumbed down books and magazines, the pounding media, the bad diets, and constant lack of parental involvement and you get a whole group of kids who act like crack babies whose mothers were never on crack.

By negating the effects of crack, they are showing that ALL kids perform like crack babies, that crack babies aren't special, that they're at the same level of everyone else, and that their intelligence isn't any different than any other kid from that strata of society. As long as all kids perform at the same level, it's just the way it is. It's not the fault of the school system. It's not the fault of education in any way. It's just that all these kids have low IQs or school performance issues. They all do. No big whoop.

What they'll never do is take a look at a school system that has failed the kids so badly that they all perform like crack babies.



At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Xavier said...

These poor children should be called "Contra Babies", not "crack babies", because of the fact that the Reagan assisted death squads in Nicaragua known as the contras smuggled cocaine into the United States.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger The Vidiot said...

i rather like your point!


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