Let's Put Our Thinking Caps On
I think I remember a kids show from the 1950's ("Romper Room?" "Miss Francis?") in which the host looked you right in the eyes and told all the kids watching that it was time to "Put Your Thinking Caps On". According to early reports, a group of politicians doesn't share the same passion for thinking.
The media, rightly so, has jumped all over the inital inclusion of a plank in the 2012 Texas Republican platform that opposes critical thinking
“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
This must be a joke, I thought. King of Critical Thinking, Steven Colbert, even found it bit-worth:Colbert Clip - The Word.
Well, it has now been reported by Texas GOP leadership that this plank was an error and should NOT have been included. There is no mechanism for amending the platform once the convention has ended, accourding to a state GOP official.
Being a person who often makes mistakes in writing I can understand and the GOP explanation. At least I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I personally know the tyranny borne of knot prough-reeding kurectly.
But, this does alert us to think about critical thinking as we ramp up this election year. The omniscient Wikipedia says:
Critical thinking is thinking that questions assumptions.It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false.
I fall strongly on the side of encouraging everyone to use critical thinking. There is a great little book about the Holocost called "How Do You Kill 11,000,000 People?" The paraphrased answer: keep them from critical thinking! Nazi's got Jews, Poles and others to board death trains by telling them: "We are just taking you for a ride to a better place where you will be much safer and better off." They fell for it. Over and over, I suppose, because they wanted to believe it and were afraid of what they might discover if they used the weapon of critical thinking.
And so, critical thinking is not just a philisophical pursuit. It saves us. Reminds me of the New Testament's: "The Truth will set you free."
Over the next few months - 3 months and 12 days to be exact - we will be innundated (did I spell that right?) with political campaign promises, claims, warnings, "facts", etc., all meant to influence us to vote for a local, state or federal candidate that "wants to take us to a better place".
What a great time to remember to do critical thinking. To question what we hear. To question what WE think. It's a golden opportunity to put our thinking caps on!
How about you? Do you think critical thinking SHOULD BE taught in school Should students be taught to challenge conventional thought? Will you set and example or jump on board the train?
Put YOUR thinking cap on and let me know what you think!
Eric Joseph Lieberman, Candidate for 18th District State Representative