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Critically Thinking About Our Education System - Part 2
Critical Thinking is NOT being taught in our public education system
FRAMEWORK —> STANDARDS —> CURRICULUM
(in layman terms:) Messages —> Methodology —> Mechanics
At the end of Part 1 we left off after progressives cooperated in generating a K-12 Science Bible (Framework is their term), which they then massaged into a sister document that states could directly use as Science standards. The later is called the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). [These are the first two elements above.]
These two documents are packaged and marketed to convey that they are quality efforts, constructed by independent Science experts. IMO these are a Trojan horse: attractive on the outside, but not so good inside. The attractiveness of this deception is one reason why some forty-five (45) states have adopted all or most of these!
A more careful analysis of the Framework exposes ate least six (6) serious concerns with it (which are also continued in the NGSS). For example:
PROBLEM #1: The single most important goal of the K-12 education system, should be that graduates have the ability to do (and have an interest in) Critical Thinking. Since this Substack column is focused on Critical Thinking, I would hope that all subscribers would be fully onboard with that.
Critical Thinking is a thorough, open-minded, logical effort to examine something, in the light of applicable evidence. In an attempt to try to satisfy two audiences, this includes a layperson definition of Critical Thinking, as well as an academic one. For more depth yet, see this fine report on Critical Thinking.
A soundbite would be that if our K-12 schools were truly educating students on the methodology and merits of Critical Thinking, they would be showing students HOW to think (and make our own conclusions), rather than telling them WHAT to think.
Stunningly, the Framework only mentions Critical Thinking once — and doesn’t even bother to define it. So the fact that it promotes lemming-like conformity (which is the direct opposite of Critical Thinking), should come as no surprise.
Q: How are Critical Thinking and communications skills, which are fundamental to student success in today’s global economy, addressed in the NGSS?
A: “It is important to understand that the scientific practices in the NGSS (as defined by the National Research Council), include the Critical Thinking and communication skills that students need for postsecondary success and citizenship in a world fueled by innovations in science and technology. These science practices encompass the habits and skills that scientists and engineers use day in and day out. In the NGSS these practices are wedded to content. In other words, content and practice are intertwined in the standards, just as they are in the NRC Framework and in today’s workplace.”
Note #1: IMO this non-sensical answer qualifies as palliative pablum, double-talk, academic puffery, etc. Regretfully, it is indicative of what is found too frequently in the Framework and NGSS.
Note #2: I also that I went to the National Research Council document they referred to, and nowhere in its 240+ pages is Critical Thinking defined, and nowhere does it say how Critical Thinking can (or should) be taught. An impressive commitment!
As indicated earlier, it should be paramount that high school graduates should be able to do (and be interested in) Critical Thinking, as this will then apply to ALL aspects of their life: what job they get, what house they buy, who they marry, how they bring up any children, how they spend their money, what religion they participate in, who they vote for, how they can productively assist others who are less fortunate than they are, what are their duties as an American citizen, etc., etc.
Regarding the latter item, they need to do Critical Thinking on important societal challenges we are faced with: like industrial wind energy, fossil fuels, climate change, COVID, etc. — and then speak up intelligently. That’s how America was setup to work.
The Framework should set the example of how to deal with real-world issues, by thoroughly and objectively showing that there are well-documented pros and cons regarding technical matters like industrial wind energy and fossil fuels. Students should be encouraged to do additional objective research, and then come to their own conclusions as to what the net societal impact of each is.
Unfortunately, this is NOT what is in the Framework. Instead predominantly positive observations are made about renewables (e.g., industrial wind energy), and predominantly negative comments are made about fossil fuels.
The takeaway is that the Framework authors are advocating student conformity to the authors’ opinions: e.g., wind energy is a good thing and fossil fuels are bad. No Critical Thinking is needed, encouraged, or desired.
Vinton Cerf is one of the founders of Google, so knows of what he speaks. He says that he couldn’t imagine a more important skill to teach than Critical Thinking. He states that the point of being a Critical Thinker is that citizens would be more thoughtful about what information we accept, then process, and then use.
But that’s the point: those that are working to have their political way with us, do not want a populous that is thoughtful about information they accept, process and use! Instead our children are being thoroughly propagandized from a very young age, and conveyed the unmistakable message that they should not stray from whatever his currently politically in vogue. Again, Lenin’s famous statement about children is at work here.
Nothing is different in higher education, as the objective remains the same: avoid producing thinking citizens. As this study concluded: these newly educated adults now don’t have the ability to segregate fact from opinion! That is no surprise considering the K-12 foundation they started with. These will become the majority of US citizens who will determine the direction our country goes. That is really scary.
Part 3 and then Part 4 will finish up our overview of concerns with the Framework and NGSS. It will identify and explain five (5) additional serious problems with them. The Postscript will wrap up this series by giving you some ideas as to what you can do about all this…
I’ve been asked: do I expect that the Framework or the NGSS will ever correct these six errors? No, as these problems were not mistakes, but are there on purpose.
My hope is that state boards of education become keenly aware of these liabilities. Any of the 45 states that have adopted the Framework/NGSS in whole or in part, should make sure that their state K-12 Science Standards do NOT include any of the six Framework or NGSS deficiencies.
Here are other materials by this scientist that you might find interesting:
WiseEnergy.org: discusses the Science (or lack thereof) behind our energy options.
C19Science.info: covers the lack of genuine Science behind our COVID-19 policies.
Election-Integrity.info: multiple major reports on the election integrity issue.
Media Balance Newsletter: a free, twice-a-month newsletter that covers what the mainstream media does not, on issues from: COVID to climate, elections to education, renewables to religion, etc. Here are the Newsletter’s 2022 Archives. Send me an email to get your free copy. When emailing me, please make sure to include your full name, and the state where you live. (Of course, you can cancel the Media Balance Newsletter at any time - but why would you?)
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