"I am not responsible" 14 July 2016
Managing the public mind 28 June 2016
New look for Critical Thinking 23 June 2016
Moments of realisation 15 June 2016
No rewards for truth 13 April 2016
The Trivium and empire 06 April 2016
Education matters 25 January 2016
Broadening the narrow-tive 31 December 2015
Trilateral Commission 02 December 2015
Cherished beliefs - obstacle to change 22 November 2015
How we think 15 October 2015
Bound by learned beliefs 17 August 2015
blöd=dumm 13 August 2015
Killing our future 10 August 2015
Distorted world views 20 May 2015
Anti-educational schooling 17 May 2015
You can't train fleas until you break their will 28 April 2015
Wisdom and knowledge 17 March 2013
Self Organised Learning Environments 09 March 2013
Education in the 21st century 31 October 2012
This contribution from a Critical Thinker in the US adds to the education debate.
A Millstone Around Our Necks by Thomas Spellman May 31, 2014
I will use RIGHT as a broad description of those forces who have orchestrated the placement of the millstone.
The NEA and the AFT and most, if not all, of the state education associations have a millstone around their necks, and they have not be able to figure out what that millstone is nor how to get rid of it. They know it is there because of the incessant Legislative Action taken against public education and Teacher Unions in particular. There is a history about the placement of the millstone, but because it has been a slow and systematic process, it is hard to pinpoint when it started.*
The current phase of the effort to place the millstone started by their own admission in 1989 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with just a few hundred children who were poor and black (other minority children were included but few participated). It was represented to the public that these poor black children did not have the same “advantage” as the white children in Milwaukee, and so the Choice School program* was created by the Wisconsin State Legislature to allow poor minority (black) children to attend a school of their parent’s choice which in essence meant attending a Religious school if it was going to be a better school.
As with all “big” City school systems, in 1989, the poor black children who attended Milwaukee’s Public Schools (MPS) did not do as well as their white counterparts. In fact, a disproportionate number of the black children, primarily young black male children, were not learning, were not graduating from high school, and so this became the MORAL basis for the Voucher School program and society’s failure to address their failure is a MORAL concern MORAL failure. The Voucher School program would provide poor black children a chance to attend better if not good schools. It is important to understand that the black children NOT LEARNING, NOT GRADUATING was the MORAL basis, the foundation, of the Voucher School program. It is CRITICAL to understand that black children NOT LEARNING, NOT GRADUATING, TODAY, STILL IS the MORAL basis for, not only Wisconsin’s Voucher, Charter and Choice School programs, but, the whole National Charter School movement as well.
Providing some context: the history of Universal education
The current British education system is the product of over a hundred years of development and therefore, progress is slow and impended by the ability of some groups in society to make the best of any changes in Education policy. Universal education therefore always benefits the rich before the poor.
Originally universal education was opposed because it was expensive and undesirable to the ruling classes who wanted to keep a cheap labour force and were worried that education may “be prejudicial to their [the laboring classes] morals and happiness; it would lead them to despise their lot in life instead of making them good servants in agriculture and other laborious employments…it would render them fractious and refractory… it would lead them to read seditious pamphlets, vicious books and publications against Christianity; it would render them insolent to their superiors.” (David Giddy, in a Common’s debate on ‘Whitbread’s [education] bill, 1807) This fear of social revolution was extremely worrying to the upper classes who had witnessed the effects of the French revolution on the ruling classes of France.
Eventually universal education was provided, helped by Jeremy Bentham’s argument that educating the poor was
The UK education system is focused on teaching knowledge and skills to young people to prepare them for work. The essence of education in terms of critical thinking and creativity are discouraged with the emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic. University departments in humanities and social sciences are losing funding as the system is increasingly monetised. Critical Thinking will be considering the evolution of education and its purpose, contrasting the current state of education with what it should be.