Thinking skills critical |

Thinking skills critical

Having spent most of my working life in education, first as a high school teacher and currently as a high school librarian, I was surprised when I heard Drew Bedwell was claiming that the local public schools are involved in a United Nations plot to subvert the minds of our children. In my experience, teachers don’t have enough time to even cover the curriculum mandated in the state standards, let alone inculcate the agendas of United Nations conferences. I started investigating and, based on information on his Web page, found that he connects, in a grand conspiracy, a 1992 United Nations Conference on the environment, local people who are concerned with preserving the health and beauty of our area, and our schools because they include information on environmental issues in the curriculum. Because he seems to believe that the United Nations concern for environmental destruction of the planet is a socialist plot for world domination, he deduces, in faulty logic, that anyone locally who cares about our environment is a socialist carrying out the United Nations agenda.

Such name-calling and convoluted guilt-by-association techniques allow him to generalize and simplify a difficult issue. However, when (in a February 2002 speech to the Republican Central Committee, broadcast on FCAT) he labels all people who are worried about our environment “evil,” this is frightening. These “evil ones” he is talking about are fellow citizens, our neighbors, with sincere concerns just like Mr. Bedwell! Branding people evil because they disagree with one’s own point of view doesn’t make it true, and is not constructive to informed decision-making. Such demagoguery is, at best, irresponsible, and, at worst, dangerously reminiscent of witch-hunt behaviors from other times in history.

Our elected representatives must make decisions on issues that are seldom simple and often have far-reaching consequences. We need representatives who show evidence of critical thinking skills and who model behaviors that resolve conflict not aggravate it.

Shirley Benedick

Grass Valley

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