Imagine if they followed the logic of "No Child Left Behind" with other
vocations, such as...well, such as dentists!
HIGH-STAKES TESTING FOR DENTISTS
Imagine a new program called, Leave No Tooth Unfilled. Each dentist will
get a rating of Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor (just like a used
textbook!) based on the average number of cavities in the teeth of their
clientele at ages 6, 12, 24, and 36.
"Outrageous!" the dentist shouts when he hears of this plan. "Do you
mean to tell me that if I serve a poorer population that doesn't get the
same preventative care as a wealthier group, I'm going to be labeled as
only Fair or maybe even Poor?"
"Yes," says the administrator of Leave No Tooth Unfilled, "and if you're
labeled Poor, we'll take some of your equipment away from you."
"That's a big help," replies the dentist.
"Oh, don't worry. If you're labeled Poor, we'll help you. We'll send a
dentist who's rated Excellent to show you what to do."
"But the biggest reason that person will have been labeled Excellent
is because he's got patients who for some reason have fewer cavities. It
has nothing to do with how well I treat the situations I find. In fact,
if this Excellent dentist works in an area where people are wealthier,
have fluoridation, preventative care, he might never have seen a case
like one of mine in a poorer area."
"You're just making excuses and stonewalling."
"Are you crazy? To evaluate a dentist's work, you have to take into
consideration what kinds of cases he or she encounters, to observe their
technique and manner, to evaluate the long-term results of the care they
give their patients, and by the way you have to be a pretty experienced
"Good luck. No Tooth Unfilled is already the law, and that's the way
it's going to be."
"That's outrageous. How many dentists were involved in actually