There has been an unfortunate shift in Western educational practices in the past few decades away from what we used to call “critical thinking.” In fact, critical thinking was once a fundamental staple of US colleges and now it seems as though the concept doesn’t exist anymore; at least not in the way it used to. Instead, another brand of learning has arisen which promotes “right thinking”; a form of indoctrination which encourages and rewards a particular response from students that falls in line with ideology and not necessarily in line with reality.
It’s not that schools directly enforce a collectivist or corporatist ideology (sometimes they do), it’s more that they filter out alternative viewpoints as well as facts and evidence they do not like until all that is left is a single path and a single conclusion to any given problem. They teach students how to NOT think by presenting thought experiments and then controlling the acceptable outcomes.
For example, a common and manipulative thought experiment used in schools is to ask students to write an “analysis” on why people do not trust science or scientists these days. The trick is that the question is always presented with a built-in conclusion – That scientists should be trusted, and some people are refusing to listen, so let’s figure out why these people are so stupid.
I have seen this experiment numerous times, always presented in the same way. Not once have I ever seen a college professor or public school teacher ask students: “Should scientists today be trusted?”