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Don't think about it ...

I'm still struggling to comprehend one of the more mind-boggling planks in the 2012 party platform adopted recently by Texas Republicans.

The party's lengthy statement on education opposes various aspects of multicultural education, early childhood education, and sex education, while favoring the teaching of subjects that emphasize "the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded” -- no doubt as interpreted through a revisionist view of history adopted by the conservative-controlled Texas Board of Education in 2010.

Most disconcerting, though, is a paragraph from page 12 of the platform. On the subject of "Knowledge-Based Education," the party affirms:

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.

That's right. Teaching children to think critically -- to suspend preconceptions, see both sides of an issue, and make reasoned judgments -- is a bad thing.

It might challenge a student's fixed beliefs!

It might lead a child to disagree with his or her parents!

I don't want to suggest that Texas Republicans are alone in thinking that children's thoughts should be cloned from their parents' beliefs. That's a common view across the country and the motivation behind the founding of many private schools.

And I can see their reason for concern: exposing children to different views and empowering them to think for themselves does carry a risk -- they might actually get an education.

Indoctrination is so much more comfortable.

Reader Comments (4)

This ignorance at itts ugliest and there is nothing we can do for those who subacribe to it.

Jul 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwayne hatcher,

You remember that Socrates' "corruption of the youth" bought him a cup of hemlock!

A little learning is a dangerous thing--at least to a tightly-locked mind.

Texas hasn't discovered that it's a terrible thing to waste a miind!


Jul 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRegular Reader

In 1990, the legislature in my state [Kentucky] enacted outcomes-based education into law, after it had been proven totally hopeless elsewhere – sounded great. It was disastrous and has been dismantled in increments by consequent legislatures, in some cases after schools and/or school personnel simply rejected it on their own. One part, for instance, required bonuses to be paid to schools accounted as successful, even though demographics, not performance, comprised the main driving force. Predictable result: cheating by schools and districts in which demographics killed any chance for success (bonuses). Individual school councils devised their own curricula, meaning that no standardization caused pupils entering middle and high schools to have totally differing backgrounds. Grades went far, far south, reflecting o-b-e induced ignorance. Then along came the Bush/Kennedy “no child left behind” fiasco and one can see why this country is in an education shambles. O-B-E was mostly about unearned self-esteem, a social program with scholarship only as an adjunct consideration. It ruined better than an entire generation educationally.

Jul 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Clark


I just can not for the sake of me understand why it is a bad thing to have a questioning mind. These folks that everything for them is black and white are plain scary IMO.

Jul 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertommy9999

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