Critical Thinking in Schools

Letters to the New York Times Editor

Schools Given Grade on How Graduates Do” (front page, Aug. 10) was revealing of system failure on several levels.
Especially telling for me were the comments by a remedial writing teacher at a community college who noted: “They don’t know how to develop an argument. They have very little ability to get past rhetoric and critically analyze what is motivating the writer.”
This teacher’s observation highlights what may well be the school system’s worst deficiency in terms of skills development: a failure to promote critical thinking. That skill is fundamental if our youth are to become thoughtful workers and thoughtful citizens of a democratic society rather than robots. Developing it can’t be left to writing classes alone but must happen throughout the curriculum.