The Times reports that 11% of kids, including 19% of high-school-age boys, are now diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Those are stunning numbers. Does anyone believe that that many kids are suffering from a diagnosable mental illness?
The article disappoints in its discussion of why. It briefly blames parents who want to gain a competitive academic edge for their kids—“some parents are pressuring doctors to help with their children’s troublesome behavior and slipping grades.” There is no discussion at all of the role of education policy—specifically high-stakes testing—in pushing kids toward these diagnoses.