Are our schools doing enough to inspire young minds to think rationally?

In answer to Quora question "Are our schools doing enough to inspire young minds to think rationally?"

A2A. I worked for many years in both K-12 and University environments, have friends who are professors and grade school teachers, watched my younger siblings and my wife's two children grow up through the American education system, and mentored young people of all ages. My observation from these experiences is that no, our schools are not doing enough to inspire young minds to think rationally. In fact, I think they mostly encourage the opposite: fine-tuning the art of test-taking and grade-making, conforming to unreasonable expectations, being confused about how knowledge is structured and interrelates, and generally encouraging children to become disinterested worker bees with uncritical minds and reflexively adopted habits and beliefs. But that's really not the fault of the schools. Not at all. There are some great teachers out there, some pretty interesting curricula, and increasingly sophisticated and engaging teaching technologies. But educational institutions are up against a juggernaut of commercialistic culture, parents with busy schedules, financially stressed communities, easy access to drugs and materialistic pursuits, and environments toxic with distracting gadgetry, Diabetes-inducing food, and a general isolation of the individual. And against this highly disruptive backdrop, schools don't really stand a chance. So I would counter: could schools ever do enough to inspire young minds to think rationally, when that isn't modeled anywhere else in their lives...? And the answer to that question would also be: no, they could not.

My 2 cents.


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