Tag Archives: Critical Thinking

Comments from an OLD BLACK FART: Pressitutes not journalists

31 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD BLACK FART. Urban Dictionary defines pressititute:

presstitute

A term coined by Gerald Celente and often used by independent journalists and writers in the alternative media in reference to journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give biased and predetermined views in favor of the government and corporations, thus neglecting their fundamental duty of reporting news impartially. It is a portmanteau of press and prostitute.

Bishop T.D. Jakes tweets about the power of thought:

T. D. Jakes @BishopJakes
Most people’s thoughts are held captive by the influences of their past or held hostage by their environment. Research and think 4 yourself!

Moi chooses to use the Investing Answers definition of “critical mass” because when one analyzes why a Free Press is important to the information stream of a society, “critical mass” is important.

What It Is:

Critical mass refers to the size a company needs to reach in order to efficiently and competitively participate in the market. This is also the size a company must attain in order to sustain growth and efficiency.

How It Works/Example:

A company’s critical mass is determined by the size of its staff, resources, revenues, and market share. Once these elements reach the size that enables a company to operate efficiently, it is said that a company has reached its critical mass. Critical mass is the point at which a company becomes profitable.

To illustrate a company’s critical mass, consider Company XYZ which was recently formed and has been experiencing steady growth and increasing strength in the market. The company’s steady revenues allowed Company XYZ to invest in more capital and to hire additional employees. XYZ’s productivity subsequently increased and their revenues exceed their expenses: XYZ then becomes profitable. The company is said to have reached its critical mass, since its capital and human resources have reached a size at which they can sustain themselves through productive efficiency.

Why It Matters:

A company’s critical mass is important to consider because it can mean the difference between thriving and surviving in a market environment. A company that sustains profitability is safely above its critical mass. http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/economics/critical-mass-623

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi wrote:                                                                               The key is developing the idea that facts should be used to support an opinion.
The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

• raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
• gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
• thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
• communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008). http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766 http://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Critical mass, journalism and education are intertwined if one thinks the critical issue is how to get peopleto fully participate in the political process, especially when their participation in the political process is key to the society’s movement up the economic ladder and democratic development.

Moi wrote about “group think” in Penn State: An example of ‘groupthink’ The University of Oregon has a great synopsis of “groupthink.”
In Groupthink, the synopsis describes the key elements of “groupthink.”

Groupthink occurs when a homogenous highly cohesive group is so concerned with maintaining unanimity that they fail to evaluate all their alternatives and options. Groupthink members see themselves as part of an in-group working against an outgroup opposed to their goals. You can tell if a group suffers from groupthink if it:

1. overestimates its invulnerability or high moral stance,
2. collectively rationalizes the decisions it makes,
3. demonizes or stereotypes outgroups and their leaders,
4. has a culture of uniformity where individuals censor themselves and others so that the facade of group unanimty is maintained, and
5. contains members who take it upon themselves to protect the group leader by keeping information, theirs or other group members’, from the leader.

Groups engaged in group think tend to make faulty decisions when compared to the decisions that could have been reached using a fair, open, and rational decision-making process. Group thinking groups tend to:

1. fail to adequately determine their objectives and alternatives,
2. fail to adequately assess the risks associated with the group’s decision,
3. fail to cycle through discarded alternatives to reexamine their worth after a majority of the group discarded the alternative,
4. not seek expert advice,
5. select and use only information that supports their position and conclusions, and
6. does not make contigency plans in case their decision and resulting actions fail. http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/theory/grpthink.html

The Founders of the U.S. Constitution recognized the importance of a Free Press and attempted to guarantee an Free Press by enacting the First Amendment. The Pressitutes have Voluntarily given up much of the Freedom they have been granted.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics:

Seek Truth and Report It

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:
– Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.
– Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.
– Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
– Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.
– Be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises they make.
– Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.
– Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was grante– Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
– Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.
– Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.
– Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant. – Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.
– Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.
– Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.
– Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.
– Label advocacy and commentary.
– Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.
– Never plagiarize. Always attribute.

Minimize Harm…….                                                                                                                                                   http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
George S. Patton

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Critical thinking skills for kids are crucial: The lure of Superbowl alcohol ads

2 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Aside from the action on the field at the Superbowl, many folks tune into the game because of the half-time show and the over-the-top commercials. Critical thinking skills are lacking in many adults. Chldren not only may lack critical thinking skills, but may make poor choices because of their lack of maturity. Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH writes in the Seattle Children’s Hospital article, Alcohol Ads and Teen Drinking:

A recent article in the journal Pediatrics looked at 4,000 students in 7th grade and asked about alcohol use and alcohol ads on TV. They surveyed the teens through 10th grade. Though the number of teens participating decreased over time, they found some scary results. For both boys and girls, increasing exposure to alcohol ads over time and liking what they saw was associated with more alcohol use from 7th to 10th grade.  They also assessed alcohol related problems, like trouble with school, and found a significant association among boys and ads.

These results show that ads can affect behavior. So what can a parent do?

  1. limit screen time and exposure to mature subject matter. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to 2 hours a day. This helps decrease exposure, but also encourages teens to do something active with their time.

  2. Use the ads as an opportunity to talk about drug use. Let teens know that what they see in these ads is not reality. Talk about the dangers of alcohol. Short term effects include difficulty in school, possible alcohol poisoning, increased risk taking and long term include health problems like liver and heart disease.

  3. Set limits and talk about consequences before you need them. See our posts on the ‘free phone call‘ and ‘ground rules.’ Talk with your teen about expectations of their behavior and let them help decide on consequences if they break the rules.

  4. Check out our previous post on how to talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol for tips.

  5. If you’re worried your teen has a problem with alcohol or other drugs, talk with your teen’s health care provider. http://teenology101.seattlechildrens.org/alcohol-ads-and-teen-drinking/

Citation:

Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements and Teenage Alcohol-Related Problems

  1. Jerry L. Grenard, PhDa,
  2. Clyde W. Dent, PhDb, and
  3. Alan W. Stacy, PhDa

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aSchool of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California; and
  2. bOffice of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology, Oregon Department of Human Services, Portland, Oregon
    Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This study used prospective data to test the hypothesis that exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to an increase in underage drinking and that an increase in underage drinking then leads to problems associated with drinking alcohol.

METHODS: A total of 3890 students were surveyed once per year across 4 years from the 7th through the 10th grades. Assessments included several measures of exposure to alcohol advertising, alcohol use, problems related to alcohol use, and a range of covariates, such as age, drinking by peers, drinking by close adults, playing sports, general TV watching, acculturation, parents’ jobs, and parents’ education.

RESULTS: Structural equation modeling of alcohol consumption showed that exposure to alcohol ads and/or liking of those ads in seventh grade were predictive of the latent growth factors for alcohol use (past 30 days and past 6 months) after controlling for covariates. In addition, there was a significant total effect for boys and a significant mediated effect for girls of exposure to alcohol ads and liking of those ads in 7th grade through latent growth factors for alcohol use on alcohol-related problems in 10th grade.

CONCLUSIONS: Younger adolescents appear to be susceptible to the persuasive messages contained in alcohol commercials broadcast on TV, which sometimes results in a positive affective reaction to the ads. Alcohol ad exposure and the affective reaction to those ads influence some youth to drink more and experience drinking-related problems later in adolescence.

Published online January 28, 2013 Pediatrics Vol. 131 No. 2 February 1, 2013
pp. e369 -e379
(doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1480)

  1. » Abstract

  2. Full Text

  3. Full Text (PDF)

Moi wrote in Johns Hopkins University study: Advertising affects alcohol use by children:

Moi discussed alcohol use among teens in Seattle Children’s Institute study: Supportive middle school teachers affect a kid’s alcohol use:

Substance abuse is a serious problem for many young people. The Centers for Disease Control provide statistics about underage drinking in the Fact Sheet: Underage Drinking:

Underage Drinking

Alcohol use by persons under age 21 years is a major public health problem.1 Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.2 More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.2 On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.3 In 2008, there were approximately 190,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.4

Drinking Levels among Youth

The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey5 found that among high school students, during the past 30 days

  • 42% drank some amount of alcohol.

  • 24% binge drank.

  • 10% drove after drinking alcohol.

  • 28% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Other national surveys indicate

  • In 2008 the National Survey on Drug Use and HealthExternal Web Site Icon reported that 28% of youth aged 12 to 20 years drink alcohol and 19% reported binge drinking.6

  • In 2009, the Monitoring the Future SurveyExternal Web Site Icon reported that 37% of 8th graders and 72% of 12th graders had tried alcohol, and 15% of 8th graders and 44% of 12th graders drank during the past month.7

Consequences of Underage Drinking

Youth who drink alcohol1, 3, 8 are more likely to experience

  • School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.

  • Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.

  • Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.

  • Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.

  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.

  • Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.

  • Physical and sexual assault.

  • Higher risk for suicide and homicide.

  • Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.

  • Memory problems.

  • Abuse of other drugs.

  • Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.

  • Death from alcohol poisoning.

In general, the risk of youth experiencing these problems is greater for those who binge drink than for those who do not binge drink.8

Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years.9, 10 http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm

See, Alcohol Use Among Adolescents and Young  Adults http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-1/79-86.htm

http://drwilda.com/2012/08/11/johns-hopkins-university-study-advertising-affects-alcohol-use-by-children/

The issue is whether children in a “captive” environment have the maturity and critical thinking skills to evaluate the information contained in the ads. Advertising is about creating a desire for the product, pushing a lifestyle which might make an individual more prone to purchase products to create that lifestyle, and promoting an image which might make an individual more prone to purchase products in pursuit of that image. Many girls and women have unrealistic body image expectations which can lead to eating disorders in the pursuit of a “super model” image. What the glossy magazines don’t tell young women is the dysfunctional lives of many “super models” which may involve both eating disorders and substance abuse. The magazines don’t point out that many “glamor girls” are air-brushed or photo-shopped and that they spend hours on professional make-up and professional hairstyling in addition to having a personal trainer and stylist. Many boys look at the buff bodies of the men in the ads and don’t realize that some use body enhancing drugs. In other words, when presented with any advertising, people must make a determination what to believe. It is easy for children to get derailed because of peer pressure in an all too permissive society. Parents and schools must teach children critical thinking skills and point out often that the picture presented in advertising is often as close to reality as the bedtime fairy tail. Reality does not often involve perfection, there are warts.

See, Admongo http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/admongo/html-version.shtml

and How to Help a Child With Critical Thinking Skills http://www.livestrong.com/article/178182-how-to-help-a-child-with-critical-thinking-skills/#ixzz2Jlv5L6HR

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How relevant is a college education?

11 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART:

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Aristotle

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person moi said:           There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills. http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Robert W. Goldfarb has a provocative essay, How to Bridge the Hiring Gap in the New York Times:

So, this fall, I talked to about a dozen C.E.O.’s in a variety of industries, along with more than 135 graduates, to try to get to the bottom of this paradox.

Instead of finding shared interests linking those who need work and those who need workers, I uncovered a serious divide that limits the success of both.

Every C.E.O. I met described recent graduates as lacking the skills and discipline required in today’s workplace. They complained that young employees deemed themselves entitled to promotion before mastering their assigned tasks. All concluded, in effect, “Let them grow up on someone else’s payroll.”

I replied that my interviews with young people showed that many had records of part-time jobs and excellent grades at selective schools that seemed to make them promising candidates. But executives countered that recent graduates had emerged from universities whose weakened requirements didn’t prepare them for the complex jobs that companies must now fill.

Recent graduates say they are equipped to add value to any employer who hires them. An economics graduate from the University of North Carolina told me: “I’m sick of the bashing our generation gets. I had a 3.6 G.P.A. in a demanding major. Everyone in my dorm knew it would be difficult to land a job, so we held study groups where people in different disciplines shared information. We invited alumni to tutor us in skills and office protocol employers value. All I ask is a chance to prove I’m as good as the best of any generation.”

It’s true that companies are actively seeking petroleum engineers, systems designers, supply-chain analysts and other graduates armed with “hard” skills. But those who majored in English, philosophy, history and other liberal arts subjects are far less likely to be offered an interview, much less a job.

At one time, employers recruited liberal arts graduates whose broad education shaped an inquiring mind and the ability to evaluate conflicting points of view. Their education also brought a freshness of vision that saw alternatives to outdated practices. Graduates entered corporate training programs armed mainly with potential, but soon absorbed business disciplines. Veteran employees seeing that growth didn’t laugh when a trainee suggested a different approach to a chronic problem…. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/jobs/bridging-the-hiring-gap-for-college-graduates.html?ref=education&_r=0

Goldfarb is arguing the value of a liberal arts education which exposes the learner to a wide variety of philosophies and information.

If college evolves into just a certificate for a vocational career, then is less and less reason for students and families to spend the thousands and in some cases the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a college degree for a traditional brick and mortar education. See, Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges? http://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

Sarah D. Sparks wrote in the Education Week article Experts Begin to Identify Nonacadmic Skills Key to Success which examined some of the traits which can lead to success both in college and later life.

Dispositions for Success

Across education and industry, research by Mr. Sackett; Neal Schmitt, a psychology professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing; and others shows the biggest predictor of success is a student’s conscientiousness, as measured by such traits as dependability, perseverance through tasks, and work ethic. Agreeableness, including teamwork, and emotional stability were the next-best predictors of college achievement, followed by variations on extroversion and openness to new experiences, Mr. Sackett found.

If you take a close look at these commercial tests [given during job interviews], they are compound traits of the top three traits” predicting post-high school success, he said, and the top three traits are also closely associated with a student’s ability to perform well on a task and avoid bad work behavior, such as theft or absenteeism.

Each student’s personality is different, of course, Mr. Sackett said, but, “we have to differentiate between that and behavior.”

You can learn to behave contrary to your disposition,” he added. “You can learn to behave in dependable ways. For some people, it’s second nature, for others, it’s a real struggle.” Either way, he said, schools can teach and measure noncognitive, college-readiness skills just as they do reading or mathematics—and they may be just as important.

More and more researchers are beginning to study the concept of emotional intelligence. See, Business Balls.Com which has a concise summary of “emotional intelligence.” Employers are saying that there is a place for those trained in quality vocational education, but there is an increasing need for the educated person who possesses both critical thinking and emotional IQ skills. That recognition of what a college degree should mean seems to be missing from many academic programs.

An educated person is one who has learned that information almost always turns out to be at best incomplete and very often false, misleading, fictitious, mendacious – just dead wrong.
Russell Baker

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Stacey Dash: Does ‘Black’ mean you can’t think for yourself and have no First Amendment rights?

8 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The Twitter world is ablaze because a Black actress endorsed Mitt Romney for president. In the interest of disclosure, moi who is Black has also endorsed Romney. Not because she likes him, but because of the FIRST AMENDMENT. So far, no one has said anything to moi’s face. After all, an old broad who has the moniker “OLD FART” would probably kick your a$$ets. The great Blessing of being an American is the U.S. Constitution and the rights many are clueless about. Anyhow, moi has covered this Black tribal thing in the posts:

Affirmative action, critical mass, critical thinking, and groupthink                                            https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/affirmative-action-critical-mass-critical-thinking-and-groupthink/

Political parties view voters as ‘useful idiots’ https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/political-parties-view-voters-as-useful-idiots/

As a Black, moi asks: Are Black leaders stuck on stupid? https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/as-a-black-moi-asks-are-black-leaders-stuck-on-stupid/

Erica Ritz posts the following Blaze article, Twitter Explodes After Black Actress Endorses Romney as the ‘Only Choice for Your Future’:

Actress Stacey Dash, who has starred in everything from the 90′s hit Clueless to CSI, prompted a firestorm on Twitter after publicly endorsing Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and then standing by her opinion.

Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future. @mittromney @teamromney #mittromney #VOTE #voteromney,” Dash wrote on her official Twitter page, accompanied by a photo of herself with an American flag.

Not long after, presumed Obama supporters began insulting Dash for her opinion, saying she isn’t “black” enough, several even asking if the actress would just “kill herself.”

One man wrote: “This hurts but you a Romney lover and you slutting yourself to the white man only proves why no black man married u @REALStaceyDash.”

As news of Dash’s treatment spread, however, First Amendment-lovers nationwide began voicing their support for the actress using the hashtag #ISupportStaceyDash.

Twitchy captured some of the worst responses to Dash’s Romney endorsement (content warning):

Twitter Responds to Actress Stacey Dashs Endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney

And here are a few more (content warning):

Twitter Responds to Actress Stacey Dashs Endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney

But Dash was apparently undeterred by the cruel reaction, and sent a number of sarcastic responses to the worst offenders, wrote a tweet reminding that she is entitled to her own opinion, and– to top it off– re-tweeted a Romney campaign message.

Women have had enough of @BarackObama’s disappointment. We need new leadership to get our economy growing again…” the re-tweeted message reads.

Here a few of the top #ISupportStaceyDash tweets:

Twitter Responds to Actress Stacey Dashs Endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney

And a few more:

Twitter Responds to Actress Stacey Dashs Endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney

(Photo: Twitter/#ISupportStaceyDash) http://www.theblaze.com/stories/twitter-explodes-after-black-actress-endorses-romney-as-the-only-choice-for-your-future/

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Affirmative action, critical mass, critical thinking, and groupthink

7 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART:

T. D. Jakes @BishopJakes
Most people’s thoughts are held captive by the influences of their past or held hostage by their environment. Research and think 4 yourself!

Justin Pope of AP has written the interesting article, “Critical mass” key to affirmative action case:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Walking across the South Mall, or scanning the football stadium’s 100,000 seats on game day, University of Texas admissions director Kedra Ishop sees how much has changed since the 1990s, when she was a black student at what was an inordinately white school.

This giant flagship campus — once so slow to integrate — is now awash in color, among the most diverse in the country if not the world. The student body, like Texas, is majority-minority.

At the dining hall, minority students no longer cluster together. Actually, it’s more a high-end food court now, and many tables are racial mosaics — white, black, Hispanic, Asian.

So is this the “critical mass” of minority students that U.S. Supreme Court narrowly endorsed in 2003 as an educational goal important enough to allow colleges to factor the race of applicants into admissions decisions?

That question will be front and center Wednesday when a more conservative Supreme Court revisits affirmative action for the first time since that landmark case nine years ago involving the University of Michigan.

This time, it’s Texas defending the use of race in admissions, fighting a discrimination lawsuit from Abigail Fisher, a rejected white applicant. As it happens, the court’s decision will affect relatively few students at Texas, which admits most students through a system that doesn’t factor in race. But a broad ruling rolling back affirmative action could be an earthquake at other campuses across the country that make more use of race, potentially changing the educational trajectories of millions of students….

Texas will swallow its pride and argue that for all its progress, it’s still short of critical mass. Under state law, most UT students are admitted automatically based on their high school GPA, with race playing no role. But for the smaller remainder of its class where it enjoys more leeway, Texas argues it should be able to use race as a factor. The reason: Some groups, especially blacks, remain underrepresented compared to Texas’ population. And minority students clump together academically, leaving most classes with no more than a single black or Hispanic voice.

But the university won’t give a target number, something the court would likely call an unconstitutional quota.

“There’s never been a discussion of ‘this is the target, this is what it looks like, this is where we’re trying to go,'” Ishop said. “We know what it doesn’t look like. And we know without the ability to examine students in their completeness that we can get back there very quickly.”

Such arguments sound mushy to UT’s opponents, who call the school’s goals for critical mass a quota in disguise. They say the university has gone too far using race in admissions, abusing the discretion the court granted colleges to define critical mass for themselves.

“It is a squishy concept that’s being manipulated,” said Terence Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, which argued against affirmative action in the Michigan case and has filed a brief against Texas in the current one. “It’s just sort of diversity for its own sake,” he added, “with no end and no limit.” http://news.yahoo.com/critical-mass-key-affirmative-action-case-161121763.html

Moi wrote about the Texas case in U.S. Supreme Court to decide the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345) http://drwilda.com/2012/09/30/u-s-supreme-court-to-decide-the-affirmative-action-case-fisher-v-university-of-texas-at-austin-case-no-11-345/

Moi chooses to use the Investing Answers definition of “critical mass” because when one analyzes why “affirmative action” is important to the movement of those from “economically deprived” backgrounds into the mainstream of society, “critical mass” is important.

What It Is:

Critical mass refers to the size a company needs to reach in order to efficiently and competitively participate in the market. This is also the size a company must attain in order to sustain growth and efficiency.

How It Works/Example:

A company’s critical mass is determined by the size of its staff, resources, revenues, and market share. Once these elements reach the size that enables a company to operate efficiently, it is said that a company has reached its critical mass. Critical mass is the point at which a company becomes profitable.

To illustrate a company’s critical mass, consider Company XYZ which was recently formed and has been experiencing steady growth and increasing strength in the market. The company’s steady revenues allowed Company XYZ to invest in more capital and to hire additional employees. XYZ’s productivity subsequently increased and their revenues exceed their expenses: XYZ then becomes profitable. The company is said to have reached its critical mass, since its capital and human resources have reached a size at which they can sustain themselves through productive efficiency.

Why It Matters:

A company’s critical mass is important to consider because it can mean the difference between thriving and surviving in a market environment. A company that sustains profitability is safely above its critical mass. http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/economics/critical-mass-623

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi wrote:

The key is developing the idea that facts should be used to support an opinion.

The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
    precisely;

  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to
    interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;

  • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought,
    recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and

  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.  (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008). http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766 http://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Critical mass and education are intertwined if one thinks the critical issue is how to get ethnic groups to fully participate in the political process, especially when their participation in the political process is key to the group’s movement up the economic ladder.

Moi wrote about “group think” in Penn State: An example of ‘groupthink’ The University of Oregon has a great synopsis of “groupthink.”

In Groupthink, the synopsis describes the key elements of “groupthink.”

Groupthink occurs when a homogenous highly cohesive group is so concerned with maintaining unanimity that they fail to evaluate all their alternatives and options. Groupthink members see themselves as part of an in-group working against an outgroup opposed to their goals. You can tell if a group suffers from groupthink if it:

  1. overestimates its invulnerability or high moral stance,

  2. collectively rationalizes the decisions it makes,

  3. demonizes or stereotypes outgroups and their leaders,

  4. has a culture of uniformity where individuals censor themselves and others so that the facade of group unanimty is maintained, and

  5. contains members who take it upon themselves to protect the group leader by keeping information, theirs or other group members’, from the leader.

Groups engaged in group think tend to make faulty decisions when compared to the decisions that could have been reached using a fair, open, and rational decision-making process. Group thinking groups tend to:

  1. fail to adequately determine their objectives and alternatives,

  2. fail to adequately assess the risks associated with the group’s decision,

  3. fail to cycle through discarded alternatives to reexamine their worth after a majority of the group discarded the alternative,

  4. not seek expert advice,

  5. select and use only information that supports their position and conclusions, and

  6. does not make contigency plans in case their decision and resulting actions fail. http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/theory/grpthink.html 

The concepts “Affirmative Action,” “Critical Mass,” “Critical Thinking,” and “Group Think” are important when one analyzes the Black experience in politics.

Moi wrote in As a Black, moi asks: Are Black leaders stuck on stupid? Well duh, it is called survival of the fittest and it relies on adaptation to changing circumstances. Moi hates to get all Machiavelli on you, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Here is some interesting data from Fact Check.Org:

For how long have the Democrats garnered the black vote? Certainly there was a point during the last century when a majority of blacks started supporting the Democrats rather than Republicans. What has been the voting pattern and what happened to change that pattern?

FULL ANSWER

Blacks mostly voted Republican from after the Civil War and through the early part of the 20th century. That’s not surprising when one considers that Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president, and the white, segregationist politicians who governed Southern states in those days were Democrats. The Democratic Party didn’t welcome blacks then, and it wasn’t until 1924 that blacks were even permitted to attend Democratic conventions in any official capacity. Most blacks lived in the South, where they were mostly prevented from voting at all.

The election of Roosevelt in 1932 marked the beginning of a change. He got 71 percent of the black vote for president in 1936 and did nearly that well in the next two elections, according to historical figures kept by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. But even then, the number of blacks identifying themselves as Republicans was about the same as the number who thought of themselves as Democrats.

It wasn’t until Harry Truman garnered 77 percent of the black vote in 1948 that a majority of blacks reported that they thought of themselves as Democrats. Earlier that year Truman had issued an order desegregating the armed services and an executive order setting up regulations against racial bias in federal employment.

Even after that, Republican nominees continued to get a large slice of the black vote for several elections. Dwight D. Eisenhower got 39 percent in 1956, and Richard Nixon got 32 percent in his narrow loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960.

But then President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 (outlawing segregation in public places) and his eventual Republican opponent, Sen. Barry Goldwater, opposed it. Johnson got 94 percent of the black vote that year, still a record for any presidential election.

The following year Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. No Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 15 percent of the black vote since.

Footnote: Younger African American voters have been edging away from the Democratic Party in recent years. David Bositis of the Joint Center notes “a fairly long-term pattern of decreasing identification with the Democrats by younger African Americans.” Of course, it remains to be seen what the 2008 campaign will bring.http://www.factcheck.org/2008/04/blacks-and-the-democratic-party/

Since elections are about the future as much as the past, Here is the National Poverty Center’s statistics for child poverty:

How many children live in poverty?[3]

Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States; they are 24 percent of the total population, but 36 percent of the poor population. In 2010, 16.4 million children, or 22.0 percent, were poor. The poverty rate for children also varies substantially by race and Hispanic origin, as shown in the table below[4].

Children Under 18 Living in Poverty, 2010

Category

Number (in thousands)

Percent

All children under 18

16, 401

22.0

White only, non-Hispanic

5,002

12.4

Black

4,817

38.2

Hispanic

6,110

35.0

Asian

547

13.6

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010, Report P60, n. 238, Table B-2, pp. 68-73.

This brings us back to the question moi posed at the beginning of this post: Are Black leaders stuck on stupid. It appears to moi that just about every other interest group is adapting for their survival.

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
George S. Patton

https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/as-a-black-moi-asks-are-black-leaders-stuck-on-stupid/

The Texas case is important because it supports the type of “critical mass “which will open doors to significantly more “critical thinking” in ethnic communities and hopefully, less “group think.”

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