© 2016 Josh dawg

Critical Thinking

My friend Matt thinks that Critical Thinking should be taught in elementary school.

Let’s play the game. How would america look today if critical thinking were taught in elementary schools starting in the 80s.

If you were in 3rd grade in 1981, you would have been the test case for a new curriculum called ORE. ORE was the acronym for Observe, Reflect, and Evaluate.  The acronym was changed in 1982 to PAT, which stood for Pay Attention, Ask questions, Think for yourself.  In 1987 the curriculum was reintroduced as ‘The Critical Method” and it was taught with the acronym: QUEST  for Question, Understand, Explore, Study, Think, and the motto “look for the truth in everything.”

After a shaky start, The Critical Method became a regular part of primary education in American Public schools by 1989.  The strategy for teaching the critical method was introducing the laws of logic to elementary school students in simple everyday interactions. A standardized test was introduced called the QUEST test, which was essentially a reading comprehension test with multiple choice and true/false questions.  The QUEST Test format was an example paragraph which ended with an assertion that was either supported or unsupported by the paragraph and the answer choices were consistent with conclusions that could either support or refute the assertion.  The test wasn’t graded with a binary right/wrong, but rather on a spectrum like a personality test.

The test wasn’t used to evaluate students so much as to evaluate the system by which the Critical Method was taught, and each year the curriculum was adjusted slightly to improve results. Critical Thinking became a core academic in secondary schools along with science, math, english, fine arts, languages, and history.

Students were graduating from high school in 1992 having been fully educated in the principles of logic and critical thought. The economic effects weren’t really significant until the mid 1990s when it became clear that consumption of consumer goods was diminishing, and it was determined that the commercial advertising industry was having a lower impact on people’s spending habits and purchasing decisions than in previous years.  The ‘Quest generation’ was simply not making as many ‘impulse buys’, and were consuming proportionately less products, media, and services than previous generations. More importantly though it was the quest generation that led the charge on information distribution via the internet.  One of the defining social achievements of the 90s was the formation of Infogate, a free web browser designed to integrate ‘HLC’, or Hyperlink citation, or just Hypercitation.  By 2000 Hypercitation was ubiquitous.  Every post, blog, ad, article, or online store had to use hypercitation or it would be blocked by Infogate’s spam filters.

The recession of the 90s, and the surge in 3rd party candidate voters led to the 2000 election of the unlikely Marrou/Nader presidency and a radical political shift away from the two dominant parties of the 20th century.  The two ideologically asymmetrical candidates both did exceedingly well with young voters, and agreed to share the ticket when polls revealed they would, combined, have enough votes to challenge the democratic and republican establishment candidates. Congress was equally shaken up, as incumbents were rejected in favor of less polished political thinkers. Government corruption and bureaucratic waste were significantly reduced, and incentives for small business were offered to compensate for the corporate flight that began.

By the end of 2004 the economy stabilized, but America was starting to fall behind the rest of the world in pure economic strength, public speculation in the stock market had declined substantially, and america’s role as global consumer had been usurped by the european union.  While america was leading the world in technological innovation, education, literacy, and catching up when it came to heath care and quality of life, it was pretty clear that a government full of politically inept idealists wasn’t necessarily the best recipe for global politicking. America didn’t know that they had avoided the global war on terror and the constant propaganda of a 24 hour news cycle liberated from the restrictions of the Fairness Doctrine, to the Citizens of america it was just a period of economic difficulty.

By 2010 the Critical Method had replaced the simple QUEST test with an interactive scheme where students had to answer a series of questions using independent research that gradually became more difficult as they advanced through the school system, luckily, thanks to the early influence of the Infogate browser and Hypercitation in the 90s it was very easy to separate accurate information from speculation and misinformation.  Of course falsifying information and sources was still a common practice, a little bit of critical thinking was usually enough to expose all but the most elegant lies.

By 2016 america wasn’t an industrial or economic superpower but it was a model of effective government, unimpeachable objective journalism, progressive academics, and ethical industrial practices, and excellent quality of life.

It’s really hard to trick a population into self-exploitation when you’ve taught them to see through bullshit.

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