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I would encourage Nathan to do some further inquiries into the “Philosophy for Children (P4C)” concepts in pedagogy.  As our new superintendent has expressed, lack of high financial status is not a learning disability and we must challenge our students, parents, teachers, and community to excel in developing knowledge skills.  While adherents of the Piaget approach to education tend to resist the teaching of critical thinking skills before a certain chronological age, there is no ironclad proof that after acquisition of basic language comprehension, there is a certain arbitrary age below which children are unable to begin to explore skills such as respectful listening and sharing personal theories on the nature of the world and human nature. (remember Art Linkletter's "Kids Say the Darndest Things"?) Indeed, teaching of critical thinking skills for elementary age children is already well developed, if not widely practiced.  The most accessible English speaking programs are extant in New Zealand, Australia, England, and parts of the USA.  In the USA, there is considerable educational research and practice on this front, from Montclair State in NJ, Mount Holyoke in MA, Memphis State in TN, even the UW in Seattle which supports the Seattle public Schools programs in elementary schools.  I am the first to acknowledge that P4C represents radical and considerable challenges to educators as well as to societal aspects that need drone workers.  Further, I see it as a waste of human potential not to actively encourage critical thinking skills to the highest level an individual can personally achieve.

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From my experience with the funding that is provided for HSD401, I would be unable to support the idea that we "just need to budget what we have better".

On a proactive note to increase funding - check out 

http://www.goodsearch.com

this is a search engine (Not Google!) that returns a portion of the revenue stream to any federally recognized non profit organization you select.  It may be only pennies per user, but it does add up.

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