Once upon a time, there was a voice in the darkness. The voice spoke, and her words were truth.

Thanks, imelenchon at MorguefileThe truth enlightened the huddled masses, who were huddled because they were cold. The heat was lower and the lights dimmer than normal because there was an energy crisis. As they sat on carpet squares in the overcrowded room, they absorbed her truth.

Never end a sentence with a preposition.

Paul Revere rode through the Massachusetts countryside calling “The British are coming!

Around 150 million years ago, the plant-eating brontosaurus roamed the earth.

The best way to learn arithmetic is to understand set theory and alternate bases first.

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America.

Of the nine planets in the solar system, the furthest from the Earth is Neptune.

If you work hard and behave yourself, you’ll get into a good college, graduate in four years, get a good job, and be better off than your parents were.

They took notes, completed worksheets, and learned the truth. They repeated it on tests. They were rewarded when they accepted the truth, and they were penalized when they challenged it. In time, they learned that the voice is always right, the truth is absolute.

Over time, the voice changed. But the concept of the authority holding the keys of truth remained. The voice says there are weapons of mass destruction. The voice says we’re not in a recession. The voice says we don’t have to worry about global warming. The voice is right. The voice is truth.

And so the sins of the huddled masses — the sins of faith in the keepers of the truth — shall bring punishment unto their children.

But the children have other ideas. They listen to the voice, but they they don’t blindly accept the truth. They ask questions. They challenge assumptions. They check sources. They verify facts. The voice helps this process by asking more and speaking less. And when the children find discrepancies, they point them out.

Information is not at a premium. We don’t have to blindly accept what we’re told. I’m not worried about the quality of information our students are using because we’re also teaching them how to be intelligent information consumers. They’re learning that information is only as good as its source. That’s more valuable than the elusive truth.

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