Education has long been the source of economic growth and prosperity. Even Public education was the brainchild of people who wanted to make more money. Public Education started in the 1300’s over in feudal Europe. The nobles felt that by giving a basic level of education, even to their more economically challenged individuals, they were able to produce more product, find innovative ways to succeed, and were more efficient. While noble children got a more complex education, these were still ways to increase economic value and the worth of their estates.
Our current system is copied under the same mantra, however, although most governments mandate a basic education should be delivered, what that basic education is differs. Depending on class or neighborhood the education level can differ, further deepening a divide.
Education and education alone is what will fix this problem. However, it does not mean throw more money at the problem. In fact streamlining costs and really focusing on each dollar spent and making the systems consistent will help further education not deepen the current gap. This is because the one skill that will be taught would be that of critical thinking. Everyone would be taught how to solve a problem and given skills to analyze the situation and make their own decisions.
Critical Thinking can be taught with no money. It’s about showing people how to analyze a situation and identify the options and then create a solution. So how does a proper education solve everything? Below are some examples of how everything or almost everything can be fixed with a proper education:
· Our current Health Crisis: Now I don’t mean educate everyone about the perils of eating fats or cholesterol. Even doctors can’t agree. But educating people how to understand their bodies, what certain foods do along with medications and give them options to make better choices. Medical Doctors want you to ask questions, questions that participate in your medical care; however we either ask questions of distrust or no questions at al. Why? We don’t know enough to ask the right questions, so we mask it with the other ways.
· News Stories: Too often people believe what the news says. Depending on whom you are watching or listening too, you hear what they want you to hear. Very rarely do you find the news story that just reports the facts. SO what should you do? Research every story and figure out the facts. If we do that as a society think about the external pressure that would cause and quick media would go away. There would also be a higher level of education.
· Savings: Every year we hear stories of how an investment professional has bilked someone of thousands or millions of dollars. When we hear about the scams we go, who would ever fall for it? Well people do, and a lot of them are highly educated individuals. The reason they fall for it is because while they have an education, they lack the education of critical thinking. They need to understand how to research and how to figure out what’s good and what’s not truthful. We don’t teach these skills and thus people only apply them in their jobs but since they don’t have the skills to apply them to everything. If they did then they would recognize the scams and be able to spot them quicker.
· Income: While we will always have a low, middle and upper class, no amount of education nor amount of socialism will ever change this, giving people to skills to think will reduce the poor levels, it will raise the lowest level of income, without raising minimum wage laws, and will increase the ability for others to move in other directions. It will also put the upper class even higher. Let’s face it, the more products are produced, better and more efficiently will filter through and move everyone up even the upper classes.
· Debt: We are a nation of debt. The debt limits rise every year both from a governmental level but also on a private basis. Why not address these issues by teaching people how to think critically about their finances. Instead of teaching Macro Economics as a governmental tool, which is a way to teach children how the government thinks about money, why not teach economic principles and how they can be applied to real life.
These are just some categories, but think about all the ways critical thinking skills can help and if taught and applied to everything think about where we can be as a society and an economy.