SOT's initial mission was to get 'thinking' into schools as a school subject. Under Hewitt-Gleeson's direction, SOT instructors trained thousands of people around the United States, and installed thinking skills into school districts, corporations, and government organizations. Within five years, 'teaching thinking' in US schools had become, according to the New York Times, the biggest new trend in education. On January 9, 1983, the New York Times, in its Education Winter Survey, wrote:
A major new effort to teach thinking skills is planned by the University/Urban Schools National Task Force, which will soon initiate a program in the public schools of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Minneapolis and Memphis... The School of Thinking in New York is the base in this country for teaching de Bono's theory, disseminated from its headquarters in London, which includes breaking out of traditional thinking patterns. This means trying to devise new ways of looking at problems... it affirms the belief that without specific efforts there is no assurance students will learn to think clearly."