We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I don't think education was all that great in the Good Old Days - my schools and some teachers certainly had major problems - but the general thrust of this article is correct. The idea that facts, dates, information, multiplication tables, and data are something that can be skipped in order to move on to more important matters of reasoning and critical thinking is simply bad science. Children are not capable of independent reasoning until they are almost out of required K-12. And some never are. They can begin to follow chains of reasoning at younger ages, and this should be encouraged. But it's not the same thing. The boring facts are necessary building blocks leading to higher level skills.
A wide variety in what facts should be learned might be permitted, as a child can learn about building and design from legos, clay, Lincoln logs, or toothpicks. Yet the child must have something to work with, not mere gas about theories of architecture.
It is the source of much mischief, because educators can convince themselves that they are teaching children to think independently and figure things out when they are merely inserting pre-packaged interpretations in artful ways so that the kiddos believe they have thought this up on their own.
Assistant Village Idiot
Most kids can handle only minimal abstractions until after puberty when the brain neurons are fully myelinized.
Precisely. One of my favorite examples was listening to a fifteen-year-old years ago arguing with his father, who was objecting to his back-to-school purchases. "I don't tell you what to wear! Why should you tell me what to wear?" It's an attempt at real independent reasoning. It is based on some actual thought. It ends up in a stupid place, because an average fifteen-year-old isn't actually good at reasoning yet. He's just flapping his wings ineffectually. Such a one is signalling that he may be ready to begin the critical thinking instruction that the schools talk about so much. Begin.
But to try that five years earlier is just ludicrous.