Conveyer Belt Unraveling: The Weekly Mentor by Oliver DeMille


A Deeper Problem

One day. One trip to Barnes and Noble. Two magazines.

It was interesting to read the two articles within five minutes of each other. It really made me think. First came a piece in Psychology Today (April 2014) reviewing a groundbreaking new book by Richard Saul, M.D. The book is entitled ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.

Dr. Saul treats hard-to-treat patients, and over thirty years he has worked with many students who were diagnosed with ADHD. In his role as a specialist, after running detailed tests, both physical and psychological, he has found over and over that ADHD was a shallow diagnosis that hid a deeper problem.

In fact, in over three decades, he has never once confirmed a diagnosis of ADHD. Not once.

His research and detailed case studies show that in many cases the young person diagnosed with ADHD actually has a vision problem, sleep problem, chemical mood disorder, or one of several other possibilities. Interesting.

Readers who have studied ADHD will be enthralled with Dr. Saul’s analysis as he discusses the science of serotonin levels, high epinephrine, and neurochemical distractibility, among other things. [for Oliver’s discussion on the neuro-chemistry of education and genius, click here >>]

Causes and Symptoms

The scientific evidence for ADHD is now suspect, as Saul shows that the chemical imbalances diagnosed as ADHD are nearly always a symptom—of another concern—rather than a cause. The chemical reality is there, but it doesn’t mean what most people think it means.

When we treat the symptom instead of the cause, we fail to solve the problem and we frequently cause numerous negative side effects in the process.

The fact that this is much more often diagnosed in boys than girls is another problem. “Proper” behavior by grade level is being set according to developmental norms of girls, which makes most boys fall inaccurately low on this skewed scale.

In short, the entire grade-level model as it is currently portrayed by the experts is turning out to be seriously flawed—and deeply harmful to many young people.

Two Parts Sham

“That was fascinating,” I told myself. Then I turned to another reading. The second article is in Time magazine (March 24, 2014), entitled “The SAT is Part Hoax, Part Fraud.”

That’s pretty strong language, but the author, celebrated educator Leon Botstein, is serious, and he provides compelling evidence.

Botstein wrote:

“[The SAT] needs to be abandoned and replaced. The College Board has successfully marketed its exams to parents, students, colleges and universities as arbiters of educational standards. The nation, however, needs fewer such exam schemes. They damage high school curriculum….[and] actually violate the justification for any test….”

As currently designed, such tests do a lot of harm to the learning process.

“So why do we remain addicted to the College Board’s near monopoly on tests?” Botstein asks. The answer is fascinating: “SAT scores…have become an integral part of another moneymaking racket: college rankings. Institutions can boost their [university rankings] by admitting more higher-scoring students….The victims in this unholy alliance between the College Board…and our elite institutions of higher education are the students—and our nation’s educational standards.”

The Elite Test

Talk about a conveyor belt. Like any factory, it’s ultimately about the money—which isn’t always bad, except that higher education so adamantly claims otherwise.

But Botstein really hits the nail on the head when he says, “The truth is that the only legitimate test is one in which a question is put forward and an answer is required with no options or hints.”

Like we have always suggested in TJEd, essay, oral or other open-ended exams like projects or simulations are the ones that really promote great education. Everything else falls short.

In his list of concerns, Botstein notes that there is a direct correlation between test scores and how wealthy the test-taker’s family is. This is elitism at its worst, though it claims to be the biggest meritocracy in the world.

Botstein wrote that, statistically, “The richer one is, the better one does on the SAT.”

These two articles were interesting, especially read one after the other. The conveyor belt is in decline, and its unraveling will come.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for it to rot and reform. Leadership Education is available now, for those who will break out the classics and apply the 7 Keys of Great Teaching.

Join Oliver for Mentoring in the Classics >>


od crop Parent vs Principal(le): The Weekly Mentor by Oliver DeMille Oliver DeMille is the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd. He is the NY Times Bestselling co-author of LeaderShift, and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through Leadership Education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

About the Author:

Rachel is the co-author of Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning and the audio series Core and Love of Learning: A Recipe for Success, and the author of the award-winning educational resource, This Week in History. She is an accomplished musician, writer, literary editor, public speaker, consultant and momschool organizer.


  1. sue maxwell April 10, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

    In understanding the cause of brain disorders, I would like to suggest a well researched book written by my cousin, Mark Blaxill, and a co-author, called “The Age of Autism” Mercury, Medicine and a Man Made Epidemic.” This is an in depth study of the exposure to and use of mercury over centuries and is extremely enlightening. Many illnesses, brain disorders and other problems have deeper layer of cause that would give greater insight into the book mentioned on ADHD. After reading this book, I explored familial and ancestral diseases and deaths to this deadly poison. I am totally convinced that their research is, not only valid, but highly important.

  2. Tom DeWinter April 11, 2014 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I also recently read an article off of the Dr. Mercola site. And it suggested extremely strong evidence that Aluminum plays a key role in Alzheimer’s and other brain and cognitive disorders. Aluminum is almost everywhere and ingested. Aluminum is said to be the ONLY earth element that has never been found to be needed by ANY living thing, plant, animal or bacteria etc. NOTHING. Yet we ingest it every day.

    Also as the focus on mercury in vaccines has gained attention, many of the manufacturers have replaced the mercury with guess what???? Aluminum.

    How nice, they remove one known neurological toxin and replace it with another that is as bad, if not worse!
    I believe there is a direct link to the amount of aluminum in the mother with Autism.
    There was also a study that was done following WWII that wanted to know why Fluoride was added into the drinking water in Germany. And one Dr. concluded that continued low level of Fluoride ingestion affects a part of the brain that makes a person more compliant. Humm. I wonder why Hitler would want a compliant populace. I wonder why almost all the western governments started putting Fluoride in the water. It has now been proven that it does NOT help kids teeth. And even if it did, it would only be needed a few short years when the adult teeth are forming in the kids. Why would you need 100% of the population ingesting a known toxin when POSSIBLY only a very small segment of the population MIGHT benefit.
    Then we find that nearly all major cities etc which all fluorinate their drinking water is almost all vote for more and more government control? Just random coincidence I guess.
    These are all conspiracy theories. But one person I knew asked to consider this: Throughout history society has viewed their elderly as the wisest. Society would seek out the wisdom and knowledge that their elders posses and attempt to cause the transfer of that great knowledge to the next generation. IF a person or entity wanted to gain substantial control wouldn’t it make sense to put into place tools that would result in the elderly to fail to be able to pass on this knowledge? If you could just cause dementia, Alzheimer’s and other brain and cognitive disorders, the elderly would be need drugs and be put into a state that they would be drooling on themselves in a semi catatonic state and be unable to pass along their great knowledge.
    If you wanted a more compliant population then why not start with the strongest and most aggressive gender that would be most likely to harder to control. If you wanted to control them, what better way than to diagnose them with a disease (ADHD) and then drug them into a passive and compliant state that can be easily controlled. That makes them nothing more than a drone following orders rather than a free and independent thinker?

    I’m not saying that I buy into this massive conspiracy. But if a person use their own two eyes and takes a look around. And what do you see? One quarter to one half of the men over 45 are on Statin drugs which purposefully reduce cholesterol which just so happens your brain operates almost 100% on cholesterol and people on statin drugs are significantly more at risk for cognitive issues. And the latest recommended guidelines recently produced suggest that an additional 13 million more people will need Statin drugs. They estimate that the rate for males over 40 will approach 50% and over 70 years old it will be 100% that will be recommended to take Statin drug. You will also see that nearly a quarter or more of the over age 40 women are antidepressants (SRRI drugs). Did you know that Fluoride was once used to treat high thyroid levels? And now people get Fluoride in their water, thereby reducing their thyroid levels. Did you know that one of the common symptoms of low thyroid is depression? But instead of removing the fluoride, they give them antidepressants instead. You see many of the young people are on Ritalin, and our elderly are increasingly getting dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues. The society’s fix seems to drug people into submission. One has to scratch their head. Is this all coincidence and mere result of our modern society and what we are exposed to? Or is this by design???

    That was the question that this person raised to me. I’m just passing it along for thoughtful discussion.

  3. sue maxwell April 11, 2014 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Yes- I read Dr. Mercola, also. Mercury, in the form of thimerasol is still being used in many vaccinations, along with tons of other junk, and particularly with pregnant women. Much of the aluminum that we inhale comes from the planes spraying chemtrails all over the world. I first saw this on facebook, and thinking to myself that it wasn’t happening here, I went out the next day to get gasoline and saw planes spraying all over the place. I have watched this for three months now and done extensive reading on it. The three main chemicals in these sprayed trails are aluminum, strontium, and barium. When you inhale aluminum, it goes to the parts of your brain that have to do with memory and emotion. Yet another problem with which we are being presented. Soils and water have been tested and there is no doubt about any of this. Behind all of these businesses are institutions that are “networks” that are virtually impenetrable due to their power, and the wealth they gain from their actions. My cousin has been fighting this in an organized manner, and it is nearly a lost cause. He and his co-author are now writing a book that tells the ingredients of vaccines so that mothers can make an intelligent choice. It is always important to get to the basic root of a problem One problem with these psychiatric disorders is that they are highly defined and compartmentalized. If you know that poisons are destroying brain tissue, not everyone in the same category is going to have the same areas of the brain affected by them. It is much more complex. But the answers are simple.

  4. sue maxwell April 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Tom, what I would like to say about the book by Mark, is it is the history of the use and exposure to mercury though out history. The Romans sent their prisoners to the mercury mines to kill them as it is so deadly. It was used, quite innocently, in medicine for years, causing many types of problems. But now, in regards to autism, which is Mark’s particular concern, it is institutionalized. These men, who create these vaccines, do not care about children, just their reputations and their money and power. Something that started out because it worked well to stop some problems, creating consequences that were not attributed to the cause, is now being purposefully lied about and creating escalating health issues. Just another horrifying thing going on in the present day world. I totally agree with you about aluminum- it is highly toxic, and flouride is a byproduct of the aluminum industry! I totally agree with you but cannot eliminate mercury. His book is extensively researched. My husband had Asperger’s Syndrome. It took me 30 years to figure it all out. My cousin told me that it is not genetic ( his gt uncle had the same problem) so I read the book to find out why. It is quite startling.

  5. Matt April 12, 2014 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Made me think of the work done by Dr. Robert Melillo.

  6. sue maxwell April 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I just read that the SAT is now going into kindergarten to get little children on the worker/conveyor belt system right from the beginning. It sounds so Marxist, it makes me sick. I posted the article on the TJED Mentoring in the Classics site on FB. I wish I had not gone through that system- but I always have been one to read classics, anyway. I had my bruises from it like everyone else and I appreciate what the DeMilles are doing for families. My husband’s uncle, who had Asperger’s Syndrome lived in a time when there was no conveyor belt. He taught himself one subject at a time; when he tried college he had a nervous breakdown. After overcoming that he went on a great adventure with one brother ( something men don’t get to do anymore), taught a little while, came back to WVA and became a great historian. My husband, who also had Asperger’s Syndrome, on the other hand, was even pushed through the conveyor belt system too fast and it wrecked his life. He never really found himself, although he was good in scouting all of his life. These two men are types of both systems,for me. A big lesson for me, as I deal with the after affects of living with a man who did not know what his problems were all about, but who tried, so hard, to be what he was.

  7. sue maxwell April 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I just read your article on brain chemistry and learning. That is so very very true and I have known it for years. You can get your brain off of the conveyor belt, as the brain is very neuroplastic, and you can feed it with complex reading- for me the chiastic structures of the scripture epitomize that. I loved that article- thanks for all of you insights.

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