The College Board reported yesterday that scores on the reading and math segments of the SAT ( Schoastic Assesment Test) had their biggest drop in 31 years in 2006. A perfect score in reading and math would be 800. In 2006 reading and math hovered around the 500 level. SAT scores have never been as high as the pre-Civil Rights legislation SAT results!
Notably the recent tests included a new writing and critical thinking part. It is made up of a 25 minute essay that tests the student's ability for comprehension, critical thinking and the ability to communicate those personal evaluations. The officials at the College Board explained that this was particularly weak.
Why is critical thinking withering? Why aren't the teachers focusing on this basic key to learning and success ? What replaced critical thinking in the school curriculum ? Probably the answer is that in the interest of integration and affirmative action in the post Civil Rights legislation , objective teaching goals have been replaced with subjective political goals. In this shift other considerations are weighed, i.e. race, where one lives and family income. Therefore what students learn becomes a secondary goal. Ergo critical thinking would effectively stand in the way of implimenting those political educational quotas.
Critical thinking is the most important subject a student can be encouraged to excel. Because life contains many surprises and challenges that are not described in a text book. Only critical thinking will equip students to be able to think on their feet and meet future obstacles. We are known by our differences. We are not all equal.