The problem with the critical thinking approach in practice is that too many of the teachers who employ it don't set aside their biases. We're all the product of our respective experiences, perspectives, perceptions, values, beliefs, ideologies and personal interests. Schoolteachers aren't some kind of detached philosopher-kings. The ones who dominate K-12 (and higher) education are inordinately Democrats, collectivists, liberals, union members, government employees, nannyists, politically correct social engineers, etc. With too few exceptions, I don't trust them to impartially referee exercises in critical thinking for idealistic, impressionable young minds. I believe in the power of ideas. So do activist liberal teachers. I'd just like equal treatment. I wonder if students are ever challenged with questions from the right, not just the left, such as:
• Name fives ways teachers' unions might be obstacles to improving the quality of public education.
• Critique Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and theorize about what motivates American leftists who obsess about their country's shortcomings while downplaying its greatness.
• Explain why the ideology of socialism is in direct conflict with human nature and, consequently, perpetually doomed to failure.
• Read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and give five examples of violations of individual rights in the name of "the common good."
• The mainstream media largely ignore qualified global-warming skeptics. Name five scientists who dispute global-warming theory and explain their arguments.
I invite students, teachers and administrators to contact me with such classroom examples.
Don't hold your breath waiting, Mike. You'll die.