The Graduate: “What Forest?”

This post represents a departure from this blog’s usual style. With due reason.

This post illuminates a spot-on piece by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune columnist, who writes about the leaves and the forest. His contention: today’s college students are not learning critical thinking skills.

In “Has College Become Too Easy?” he separates the leaves (smaller memorizable discrete skills and content) from the forest (critical thinking), arguing that way too much of the former — and lots of other stuff — predominates a college student’s experience, at the expense of the latter.

This blog’s contention: the more obsessed we become with the numbers of leaf-level standardized tests, the less schools at any level are able to value and teach forest-level critical thinking.

If America’s graduates of higher education are less and less able to think critically, as Page argues, then how can we possibly see, engage, and solve the myriad of complex forest-level challenges that lie in front of us?