Molly Ivins did not exaggerate . . .

From TPMMuckraker: Texas GOP’s 2012 Platform Opposes Teaching Of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’

Actually, the title is a bit sensationalist . . . but not by much. And from my  perspective, the author missed one of the most juicy parts . . .

The article is about several planks in the 2012 Republican Party platform. It quotes the plank on “Knowledge-Based Education” as saying:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

The author of the article contacted the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) to ask for comment. The reply was:

“[The chairman of the Education Subcommittee] indicated that it was an oversight of the committee, that the plank should not have included ‘critical thinking skills’ after ‘values clarification,’” [The RPT Communications Director] said. “And it was not the intent of the subcommittee to present a plank that would have indicated that the RPT in any way opposed the development of critical thinking skills.”

Juicy part after the fold . . .

So, lets see: The Republican Party of Texas is “not in any way opposed to the development of critical thinking skills,” but it does still remain opposed to the idea of “challenging the student’s fixed beliefs.” OK, it looks like the rule must be that the only kind of critical thinking skills a student may be taught or may develop are those that don’t get in the way of what the student believes already.

So the Texas Republican version of critical thinking goes something like this: “If you see or hear something that conflicts with what you already believe, just ignore it. You just go ahead and believe whatever it is that you want to believe . . . You don’t have to let nasty old facts get in the way of your beliefs . . .”

That’s not critical thinking . . . that’s hands-over-the-ears-running-around-screaming “Na, na, na, I can’t hear you.”

I’m not even going to try to figure out how Outcome-Based Education usurps parental authority . . . unless the parents are dumber than a bag of broken hammers, in which case, that’s not such a bad idea.

And with respect to the comment about behavior modification . . . Jesus! The whole idea of education is to modify peoples’ behavior. Duh! Why would one want to educate someone if not so that they can do things that they couldn’t before? I must be missing something . . .

Molly, you were right . . . I just wish you were around to see this. I’d love to hear what you’d have to say about this . . .

This entry was cross-posted to lartwielder on Daily Kos.

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