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  1. #301
    Ginkgo
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    What is typically considered critical thinking in the modern university is a method in which a thinker must be resigned to nihilistic premises in order to question assumptions. In order to depart from these nihilistic premises, a thinker must affirm reason with facts, all the while doubting the value of facts and reason to compensate a consideration for future discoveries. In other words, the insistence on eclecticism found in today's common "critical thinking" practice posits that every truth is so true that any truth must be false. In effect, contemporary education typically works to undermine the richness of rational thought by dismissing the value of believing in premises that would demand us to redact our previous knowledge through analysis instead of questioning every assumption before the analysis starts. If we were to emphasize the value of an all-inclusive worldview that does not depend on the insistence that every theory is just an opinion - the insistence that every theory must follow an appeal to the hominem ("I, in particular, think; I, in particular, feel, my viewpoint isn't worth a damn... etc etc."), then students might choose to follow a clear vision of their place in the world. Do I think that a practice of "critical thinking" would subvert parental authority? No. Parents ought to embody their authority by being the final judges in where their children go to school, even if it means they choose to practice homeschooling. What I am saying, though, is that the underlying nihilism of many a liberal student and teacher is far more dogmatic than any system of beliefs because it excludes absolutely every transcendental truth outside of the local nieghborhood drama and facebook.

  2. #302
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    What I am saying, though, is that the underlying nihilism of many a liberal student and teacher is far more dogmatic than any system of beliefs because it excludes absolutely every transcendental truth outside of the local nieghborhood drama and facebook.
    This sounds more like mental gymnastics than any useful framework for analyzing the streams of information that clamor for our attention each day. The type of critical thinking I have in mind is practical, and has as almost a first order of business separating fact from opinion, evidence from belief. There is place for all of these; it is in mistaking one for the other that we get into trouble. If a politician claims, for instance, that illegal immigration is causing our high unemployment, or Obamacare will lead to higher insurance costs for everyone, he/she must support the assertions with evidence if we are to consider them more than simply an opinion. (I have opinions, too, but expect my elected officials to make decisions on a sounder footing.) Same goes for advertising claims, health and fitness advice, even things our friends tell us. This type of analysis requires us to question assumptions, and to look for demonstrated cause and effect relationships.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  3. #303
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    This sounds more like mental gymnastics than any useful framework for analyzing the streams of information that clamor for our attention each day. The type of critical thinking I have in mind is practical, and has as almost a first order of business separating fact from opinion, evidence from belief. There is place for all of these; it is in mistaking one for the other that we get into trouble. If a politician claims, for instance, that illegal immigration is causing our high unemployment, or Obamacare will lead to higher insurance costs for everyone, he/she must support the assertions with evidence if we are to consider them more than simply an opinion. (I have opinions, too, but expect my elected officials to make decisions on a sounder footing.) Same goes for advertising claims, health and fitness advice, even things our friends tell us. This type of analysis requires us to question assumptions, and to look for demonstrated cause and effect relationships.
    Good for you.

  4. #304
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    only in america
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

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  5. #305
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    That doesn't really take into account, though, when charter schools become a "test score factory." Parents look at the test scores coming out of the school and see that they're high, and think it's a really good school, when it might be a matter of teachers drilling test prep into the kids all year long. Those schools tend to survive on account of their high test scores (some even get "School of Excellence" awards for having high scores) but they are not necessarily good schools.

    I would much rather my children learn how to think for themselves and find information on their own, than be filled up with all the information they can hold, like little buckets.
    Ivy, can you share your observations where you have seen this occur? This hasnt been my observation, but there may be instances I have missed and would love to hear your experiences. I have seen charter schools do much less testing, yet result in much better results, typically but since each school can adjust thier philosophy, I would like to learn more of the pattern.

    (My son's charter school spends about five days a year doing testing for state standards, while his public school was upwards of 40% of classtime.)

  6. #306
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Ivy, can you share your observations where you have seen this occur? This hasnt been my observation, but there may be instances I have missed and would love to hear your experiences. I have seen charter schools do much less testing, yet result in much better results, typically but since each school can adjust thier philosophy, I would like to learn more of the pattern.

    (My son's charter school spends about five days a year doing testing for state standards, while his public school was upwards of 40% of classtime.)
    Sure! First of all, both of my children are charter-school educated (with the exception of my son's More at Four pre-K program which was in a regular public school setting). I LOVE the two charter schools we've sent our kids to, and there hasn't been a big focus on test scores at either of them, but they still manage to to crank out excellent averages just due to excellent teaching in general and a couple of weeks of test-specific preparation late in the year. The elementary school where my daughter went was an amazing, innovative school. The school they both attend now (a K-8, we were sad to say goodbye to the old elementary but it's a 15 minute drive away and on an entirely different calendar) is much more "traditional," kids at desks most of the day, but there is a real spirit of love of learning there and my kids are thriving and doing well. They also have a much better exceptional ed program, which we needed for our son who has autism. The cherry on top is having them in the same school less than five minutes from home. All of that was worth the trade-off in innovation to us. Anyway- I ramble. Point being, I am not at all against charter schools- I think the good ones are REALLY good.

    They are not all good, though. We looked into a lot of charters when we were school shopping and many of them were just scary. I'm certainly not one to elevate teacher certification over a natural gift for teaching but if you don't have the former you'd better have the latter, and some of these schools seemed to have paid babysitters to read out of test prep workbooks. And for-profit charter schools are another thing entirely, IMO. That's just a scary trend.

  7. #307
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Ivy, can you share your observations where you have seen this occur? This hasnt been my observation, but there may be instances I have missed and would love to hear your experiences. I have seen charter schools do much less testing, yet result in much better results, typically but since each school can adjust thier philosophy, I would like to learn more of the pattern
    This is the situation in Finland, whose students are typically at the top of most international educational comparisons. Teachers there are also drawn from the top of the class in universities. By contrast, I heard the observation recently that U.S. curriculum is designed to be taught by anybody. Small wonder our schools have the problems they do.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #308
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    From CNN:

    N.J. Gov. Christie signs bipartisan reform of nation’s oldest teacher tenure law

    (CNN) - New Jersey updated its teacher tenure law on Monday. New Jersey's law was the nation's oldest statewide tenure law, enacted in 1909.

    The new law, signed by Gov. Chris Christie, means that New Jersey will be able to remove ineffective teachers, even ones who have earned tenure. The law still provides for tenure, but after four years of teaching instead of the current three.

    Tenure laws generally provide teachers with due process rights before dismissal, but many critics of the practice say that it makes it unnecessarily difficult to fire bad teachers.

    Under the new law, teachers and administrators could lose their tenure if they have two consecutive years of ineffective ratings. While test scores can be a factor in determining a teacher's effectiveness in the state, tenure will not be at risk unless the district uses additional criteria. According to the new law, school district supervisors, not outside personnel, must conduct the teacher evaluations that help determine effectiveness.

    The new process for assessing these charges involves binding arbitration hearings instead of New Jersey court proceedings. A Paterson, New Jersey school official estimated that firing a tenured teacher under the previous system would take about two to five years.

    The new process, according to the governor’s office, will take a maximum of 105 days.

    Groups that traditionally have been at odds worked together to craft and pass the bill sponsored by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Not a single member of New Jersey’s bicameral legislature voted against it.

    Not only did the teachers' union support the bill, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) said on its web site that the union helped write the new law.

    Gov. Christie thanked the NJEA, the American Federation of Teachers and the New Jersey School Board Association, saying, "this was not going to get done without their input, their support, and their help....It's not everything they wanted to have happen, not everything I wanted to have happen...but it is a very significant piece of legislation."

    NJEA president Barbara Keshishian says the new law saves money and shortens the time it takes to fire an ineffective teacher, while maintaining teachers' due process rights.

    “NJEA brought that proposal to the table, and we were pleased that stakeholders gave it serious consideration and ultimately, their support,” Keshishian said.

    A press release from Christie's office outlined some future education reforms the governor would like to see, including an end to the "Last In, First Out" (LIFO) practice, which protects senior teachers from layoffs. The NJEA dropped its objections to the tenure bill when wording to eliminate LIFO was removed from the legislation.

  9. #309
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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  10. #310
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Now this is how to work together to get something done. We will see how it works out.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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