Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Education as Public Health Initiative

OK, well first, I would argue that governmentally-sponsored education is a public health initiative, but only with someone who actually wanted to argue the point. I'll spare my imaginary reader here.

From the New York Times article about Berkeley's optional summer project for incoming freshman:
The university said it would analyze the samples, from inside students’ cheeks, for three genes that help regulate the ability to metabolize alcohol, lactose and folates.

Those genes were chosen not because they indicate serious health risks but because students with certain genetic markers may be able to lead healthier lives by drinking less, avoiding dairy products or eating more leafy green vegetables.

Berkeley’s program for the class of 2014 is the first mass genetic testing by a university. Jasper Rine, the professor of genetics who is leading the project, said it was designed to help students learn about personalized medicine and identify their own vulnerabilities.
Detractors say the students would require counseling to process the results, and that students who don't test as having a risk factor might be encouraged by the result to be more careless with their health.

Typical save-us-all/idiots-from-ourselves knee-jerk response, IMO. These are Berkeley freshman, and should not have to be told what to think to avoid being stupid. That sort of response is what smothers education in the Era of CYA. "If we let people to think for themselves, they might get it wrong and we could be sued!" It's the New Censorship.

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