WRD 103: Composition & Rhetoric I: Winter Quarter 2014 Rotating Header Image

These are 20th-century numbers

“Now the language of education reform has changed, and the emphasis is on testing, accountability, and order.

“Especially order: increasingly, and in surprising numbers, kids whose behavior subverts efficient learning are medicated so that they and their classmates can keep pace. The United States produces and uses about 90 percent of the world’s Ritalin and its generic equivalents. In 1980 it was estimated that somewhere between 270,000 and 541,000 elementary school students were taking Ritalin. By 1987 around 750,000 were. And the use of the drug didn’t really take off until the 1990s. In 1997 around 30,000 pounds were produced—an increase of more than 700 percent over the 1990 production level.”


“One senior told me she had subscribed to The New York Times once, but the papers had just piled up unread in her dorm room. “It’s a basic question of hours in the day,” a student journalist told me. “People are too busy to get involved in larger issues. When I think of all that I have to keep up with, I’m relieved there are no bigger compelling causes.”

David Brooks, “The Organization Kid” April, 2001