Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Another post-and-run

Another day, another playdate at our place, and uh, when does summer end again?

Rambling today since I'm pressed for time. Here are a few quiet topics where I can do the post-and-run without having to worry about leaving behind a discussion filled with vitriol and blood.

WaPo discusses the fishing/hunting guys, another voting block to add to the ever-growing list of swing voters. Lessee, so far we've got young single women, the Latino voters, the Catholic voters, and a few others I can't recall. The real surprise, at least for me, was how ambivalent the fishermen/hunters are towards the two candidates. I would've thunk it was a sure slam-dunk victory for Dubya. Guess this provides more hope for a West Virginia victory for Kerry.

Speaking of West Virginia, the latest Zogby interactive poll results in the WSJ seem to be rather... um, heart-stopping. Too volatile, for my comfort, so for now, I'm staying clear of any speculation based on their schtuff. Yes, I know it's early anyway but jeez, check out West Virginia. Bush is now ahead, after changing leads with Kerry. But check out the total change from June 7th: a whopping 9.1%. Screw that. Also in Michigan, Bush leads, which calls for another WTF reaction. A pox on the Zogby interactive.

Finally, here's an editorial about how important it is to teach kids critical thinking skills.
A critical literacy consistently gives students permission and encouragement to question received wisdom-whether from textbooks or presidents. It develops habits of skepticism. And it also makes this approach explicit to students, helping them recognize how a critical perspective on the world differs from what they might encounter in their textbooks or on the nightly news.

Our curriculum ought to help prevent students from becoming the gullible propaganda victims that Daniel Ellsberg describes. But it's important that a critical curriculum does not itself become propaganda, simply offering conclusions and handing students anti-war positions. Our aim is not to get students to parrot our ideas, but to equip them with the thinking skills they will need for a life of democratic participation, of active citizenship.

In the long run it's this kind of teaching that will contribute to building the social movements that can combat militarism. This is the teaching that Rethinking Schools invites readers to practice.
The nightmare in my mind is having my kid go through school knowing how to take standardized tests but not know how to think critically because there wasn't enough time. A malleable and naive population of kids would grow up to be the perfect consumers for a corporate world.