Who Wouldn’t Want Students to Learn Critical Thinking Skills?

I mentioned this on some social networks the other day, but thought I’d post it here as well.

I recently got a call from an automated polling service, which promised me a trip for two to the Bahamas if I would complete the short political survey. I pressed the number for “yes,” more out of curiosity than a burning desire for the Bahamas.

Here are the first two questions, as I remember them.

Question #1, What issues should the presidential candidates be most concerned with in the 2012 campaign?

  1. Rising gasoline prices
  2. U.S. involvement in the Middle East
  3. Staggering unemployment
  4. Health care reform.

I pressed “4” and to my surprise, was asked the same question again. I pressed “4” again, and the same question was repeated. This time I answered “3” and the poll continued on to the next question.

Question #2, Where do you get most of your political news?

  1. CNN
  2. Fox News
  3. The New York Times
  4. (I don’t remember what 4 was)

I pressed “3” and the same question was repeated. It was at this point that I hung up.

Now the critical thinker in me first considers whether the survey automation server is broken. Then I wonder, if it’s not broken, and this exchange was designed, then why? What might someone have to gain by contriving this exchange?

I won’t delve further into the same conclusions that most of you have already made.

Critical thinkers see through manipulations and perhaps might even extend their scepticism to question any and all political survey findings of a similar political tilt — in which case, this type of information fixing would backfire.

My reason for including this story here is that we are told by almost all quarters that..

..They want schools to help their children become critical thinkers.

I mean, “Who wouldn’t?”

New Development: 

Yesterday (May 29) I got an automated call from “Independent Survey Group” asking me the same questions as above and accepting my left-wing Obama’esque answers. Then a human voice came on the line, evidently to offer me two way tickets to the Bahamas. Go figure!

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.