Logical fallacies in childhood education scholarship

In scholarship pertaining to childhood education one could pick out all sorts of logical fallacies being applied. Some of it is oversight or poor understanding on the part of the author, while the others are deliberate constructed so as to mislead or misinform the reader. American educators have claimed that the steady improvement in SAT scores is an indication of improved literacy and numeracy skills of students. This is a ‘hasty generalization’, for upon critical review the real reason is revealed, namely the decrease in rigor of standardized tests. In childhood education literature we also witness ‘non sequitors’, which is an attempt to create a cause and effect relationship where none exists. For example, the claim that, since enrolments to schools have increased over time the overall standards must have also gotten better is a non-sequitor. Empirical studies show no correlation between these two parameters. ‘Faulty Analogy’ is comparing apples with oranges. To say that public schooling will fail in the USA because it has failed to impress in China or India is a faulty analogy. One has to also take into account the economic, social, cultural and political conditions that bear upon educational outcomes. ‘Equivocation’ is the deliberate attempt to confuse the reader by obscuring one’s position on the subject. A policy maker or legislator who says that public schooling should be encouraged while also supporting government austerity measures is guilty of equivocating. Equivocation is closely tied to logical contradiction. Finally, a commonly found fallacy in childhood education literature is that of ‘petitio principii’, also called ‘begging the question’. If proponents of the existing education system are correct in their praise of the system, it then begs the question why American children fare poorly in comparison to their counterparts in Western European nations?


Logical Fallacies, Literacy Education Online (LEO), retrieved from <http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/logic.html> on 17th February 2014.

Informal Fallacies, Introduction to Logic: Critical Thinking, retrieved from <http://www.olemiss.edu/courses/logic/fallacies.htm> on 17th February 2014.