October 25, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 43

Schools should teach critical thinking

Last Thursday night I went to see Amy Gulick’s “Salmon in the Trees” presentation at the fairgrounds. I wanted to see what the controversy was about.

I saw beautiful photographs of mist-shrouded mountains and glaciers, rivers full of salmon, bears, eagles and people eating salmon, and fishing boats full of salmon. The images were all very familiar to anyone who lives here. There was a bit of a biology lesson about how the salmon, after they spawn and die, fertilize the surrounding forest, and a brief mention of the fact that we still have salmon while other places no longer do.

What’s controversial about that?

What is far more disturbing is the fact that a couple of school board members, without a vote of the full board, censored this presentation, apparently without seeing it.  I did not see them in the audience. What are these school board members afraid of? Are they afraid that our children will learn that we live in a beautiful, vibrant place full of life? That we are fortunate to still have healthy runs of salmon that feed us and support our economy?

If we teach our children critical thinking they will be able to separate truth from propaganda. Perhaps these school board members would prefer that we send our kids out into the world blindfolded and with their palms pressed firmly over their ears.

Rob Goldberg