Welcome to Thinking Otherwise.

This blog addresses primarily education issues. The headings lead visitors to specific topics. Our main focus is how American education can be changed and improved and issues relating to that. Every society that wants to pass on its values beyond the present requires a system that defines and communicates that. There is no model that can be used for every society; each of them must develop its unique way to explain itself. The US and most modern nations use some form of publicly supported “schooling.” How that is managed differs and evolves. In the US, a decentralized, community by community process, with control divided among various political and social agencies. The advantage is that it prevents rapid and unevaluated change; the disadvantage is that change becomes difficult. How to reconcile the need for change and the difficulty in deciding what and how has been a major challenge. Thinking otherwise about it needs to be part of any effort.

There are other issues that lend themselves to thinking otherwise. Rather than set up a separate blog for comment, we have provided separate headings that identify some social, economic and political issues and problems that will also be addressed. If this interests you, just choose the relevant heading to read the “thinking otherwise” perspective on some of the ever-changing problems of our increasingly interconnected world.

We believe that the ultimate goal for parents and students to improve learning opportunities, regardless of immediate school problems, must be independence.  That means, independence of individual students from the limitations of the school curriculum.  But, it also means using the public schools to educate insofar as they can help the individual student to learn.  It makes no sense not to take advantage of the very important skills and basic learning tools that the school provides.

Parents and Students should recognize the mastery of basic reading, language and number skills are essential to becoming independent.  Without the ability to read, write and compute independence is impossible.

Homeschooling is an alternative for some parents.  Most however, are better served by using schools and tracking students’ progress carefully.  Every school district has remedial programs – other resources are available.  If necessary, parents can help but too many parents are not capable of teaching effectively.  That is especially true when students have physical or developmental issues that need addressing by experts.  Many districts can provide that.

Finally, Thinking Otherwise is a resource for parents and others who have an interest in students attending schools but not achieving as well as expected.  To become independent, requires most of all to have the skills necessary to learn without direct teacher involvement.  That takes some guidance but it also takes an understanding of the learning process.  Thinking Otherwise will first of all address what ‘thinking’ is and how it can be done effectively outside of the classroom and outside of the school and, ultimately completely independently of them.