Not everyone thinks that way, of course. We've all heard the "new methods" which extol the "guide on the side", not the "sage on the stage".
Here's a question for you: why would my school district pay me more if I get a master's in math? How would that make me a better "guide on the side"?
Anyway, some of our younger teachers are all gung-ho about Common Core standards and how we're finally going to get kids to think instead of just memorize (if we even got them to memorize). The old ways didn't work, don't work, won't ever work, and we must use new and improved methods (that were tried, to dismal results, in the 1990s, but that's a different story).
The human brain hasn't changed much in the past few thousand years. What worked millenia, centuries, decades ago still works today. Oh, today's American culture may not value education as much as it did 50 years ago, but that culture isn't going to foster thinking any more than it's going to foster memorizing.
The old methods work just fine. Direct instruction is still an extremely valuable way to impart knowledge.
When we decide we need something new, it's often fashionable to get rid of what some consider extremely important--as a lesson that there's a new sheriff in town, and this is the way things are going to be now. Is that perhaps why we don't teach grammar or geometric proofs anymore?
Everyone goes nuts, holding professional development days and sinking money into seminars, technology, and new curricula, in a rather silly quest to teach “critical thinking”. What you see in the quest for critical thinking is a recognition that something has been lost.It won't be long before memorizing the multiplication tables goes out of fashion again.
It has been lost. To a great degree. It used to be formalized and structured… And now we cast about for it haphazardly. I am not saying that we should use ancient texts and teach with handwritten codexes. The method can be modernized, and taught using modern technique. But it must be taught or it… won’t be. (There’s some logic for you.)