Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

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RebLem
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Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by RebLem » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:37 am

GOP Opposes Critical Thinking

Party platform paints original ideas as a liberal conspiracy

By Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle blog | 1:17PM, Wed. Jun. 27

It's official: The Republican Party of Texas opposes critical thinking. That's right, drones, and it's part of their official platform.

One of our eagle-eyed readers emailed us to point out this unbelievable passage in the RPT 2012 platform, as adopted at their recent statewide conference.

"Knowledge-Based Education – 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." [In other words, "We don't want teachers showing students how to detect our lies." Or, as Chris Hayes said on his show UP on MSNBC today, "Teaching critical thinking is pretty much the purpose of having an educational system in the first place."--RebLem]

What this really means is that the GOP is doubling down on learn-by-rote fact recitation – of the kind spearheaded by the worst of the pro-testing advocates, and locally by IDEA Public Schools, which has committed to the anti-analytical direct learning model (aka "press button A, B or C.")

But what the hell is all that bunk about "undermining parental authority"? Could it be that the Texas GOP has shown its paternalistic streak a little too overtly? And, let's face facts, that's just policy-wonk speak for "honor thy father and mother." Yup, the Texas GOP is officially enshrining blind obedience into its doctrine of political domination. And be careful that you don't disturb a student's fixed beliefs, like, say, that the Loch Ness Monster is real.

Sadly, this is just one of 30 pages of head-in-the-sand, pretend-the-Enlightenment-never-happened thinking from the state's dominating party. Other gems include:

– Abstinence-only sex ed (yeah, because that's worked so well so far.)

– Trying juveniles as adults

– Faith-based drug rehab should be emphasized (Scientology front operation NarcAnon should be rubbing its hands at that one)
– Oppose the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Yeah! Who's the UN to tell us we should ban child slavery?)

– Flat rate income tax (go Team 1%!)

– Repealing the minimum wage (suck it, wage slaves!)

– Opposing homosexuality in the military (don't ask, don't tell, and don't do that!)

– Opposition to red light cameras (because if you run a red, kill someone, and there's no witnesses, was the light ever really red?)

– Oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, because firms should be able to fire people for what they consider "sinful and sexually immoral behavior." Like, say, growing a beard?

– Continued opposition to ACORN (even though it has not existed since 2010)

– Opposing statehood or even Congressional voting rights for the citizens of the District of Columbia (who writes this crap, Rand Paul?) [cuz we got too many black folk in Congress already, don't want to add to The Problem--RebLem]

– And no-questions-asked support for Israel because, and this is another direct quote, "Our policy is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise."

Yes, for every measure that everyone can agree on, like labeling GMOs, there's another entry or three from the crazy ideas discount bin.

So, next time some Tea Partier tells you the GOP is all about freedom and liberty, remind them that the GOP doesn't want people to learn how to think critically. Because people who can think critically might start looking at their platform.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/ne ... -thinking/
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jbuck919
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:21 am

Does anyone wonder how the Republicans keep any educated, principled, mainstream people in their ranks? There are numerous Republicans who will remain loyal to the party forever (I know a couple of them) no matter how full their platform becomes of outrageous planks they themselves probably disagree with. Their loyalty is based almost entirely on the traditional fiscal conservatism vs. tax-and-spend duality that they remain convinced is (A) still the basic difference between the two parties and (B) a consideration which overrides all others. Pointing out that the budget was balanced under Clinton and became outrageously unbalanced under Bush, while neither party has ever done anything that shrinks government because that idea is a chimera to begin with, does about as much good as trying to talk someone who believes in chiropractic into going to a medical doctor.

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david johnson
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by david johnson » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:23 am

sigh...it's not critical thinking that is opposed, it's 'critical thinking' as defined by a certain faction of untrustworthy progressives. read the originals, guys, w/o your currently preferred definitions.

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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by living_stradivarius » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:08 am

david johnson wrote:sigh...it's not critical thinking that is opposed, it's 'critical thinking' as defined by a certain faction of untrustworthy progressives. read the originals, guys, w/o your currently preferred definitions.
I've read the original and that technicality is a lame excuse, especially since the following part of the paragraph specifically refers to the questioning of established beliefs. Not to mention the preamble is all about "following God". :roll:
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John F
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by John F » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:37 am

This "excuse" is irrelevant, as however this extraordinary language got into the Texas Republican platform, the state party convention expressed their approval by passing it and making it binding on all Texas Republicans, from the governor on down. They could use some critical thinking skills themselves, and possibly some reading skills as well. But here's what they say:


Texas GOP’s 2012 Platform Opposes Teaching Of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’
Eric Lach June 29, 2012

The Republican Party of Texas’ recently adopted 2012 platform contains a plank that opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” in schools. The party says it was a mistake, but is now stuck with the plank until the next state convention in 2014.

The plank in question, on “Knowledge-Based Education,” reads as follows:

"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."

Elsewhere in the document, the platform stipulates that “[e]very Republican is responsible for implementing this platform.”

Contacted by TPM on Thursday, Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Communications Director Chris Elam said the “critical thinking skills” language made it into the platform by mistake.

“[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,’” Elam 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.”

Elam said the members of the subcommittee “regret” the oversight, but because the mistake was part of the platform approved by the convention, “it cannot be corrected until the next state convention in 2014.”

TPM asked Elam what the intent of subcommittee had been in including the “Knowledge-Based Education” plank.

“I think the intent is that the Republican Party is opposed to the values clarification method that serves the purpose of challenging students beliefs and undermine parental authority,” he said.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.c ... skills.php

Actually, this is far from the worst of the platform's offenses. Read it and weep, here:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/as ... _Final.pdf
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david johnson
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by david johnson » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:12 am

Regarding values clarification - if you support it, will you let me determine you and/or your child's values?

John F
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by John F » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:35 am

And let me ask you - do you really want your children prevented from thinking for themselves?

I have no children, but if I did, I'd want to raise them as I was raised, with a healthy respect for authority but an equal respect for independent, reasoned, "knowledge-based" thought.
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by Steinway » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:32 am

Is there something in the water in Texas that explains this kind of stuff?

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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by living_stradivarius » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:36 am

david johnson wrote:Regarding values clarification - if you support it, will you let me determine you and/or your child's values?
A child should be encouraged to determine his/her own values.
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by david johnson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:56 am

well, it sounds as though you all are now agreeing with me. well done.

John F
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by John F » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:31 am

Nice try. But it isn't about whether we agree with you, but whether you agree with us. How about it?
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:35 am

John F wrote: Actually, this is far from the worst of the platform's offenses. Read it and weep, here:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/as ... _Final.pdf
A question from pure ignorance: Is it normal for a state-level party platform to cover so much ground? They have a position on everything except sunblock and button-down collars (which are probably actual issues for the people who wrote this :wink: ).

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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by John F » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:09 am

I've never been aware of a state-level party platform before. Maybe it's to influence local elections, or bind bind Texas's delegates, whoever they are, to get all this written into the national party's platform. Or whatever.

The pretensions of these people are really something, aren't they? Starting off by quoting the Declaration of Independence, as if they owned it. The sheer bulk of the thing probably means that the delegates didn't read all of it before voting for it. But such negligence is no excuse; they're responsible for it anyway, every word.
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:37 am

John F wrote:Starting off by quoting the Declaration of Independence, as if they owned it.
We could go on all day on the various points, but since you raised that one, I thought that was particularly weird. It's common to cite adherence to the principles of the Constitution (tendentiously, of course), but the Declaration of Independence? Unless they are going to start arguing against progress in the name of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," (which may for all I know be exactly what they have in mind), the Declaration doesn't embody much in the way of principles amenable to modern partisanship, unless perhaps they are planning to threaten another secession from the Union (it's more like there are components of the Union they would like to expel). And that "pursuit of happiness" bit could get them into trouble. :wink:

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John F
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by John F » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:12 pm

Well, Texas did declare its independence from the United States in 1861, and like you say, maybe they're setting up to do it again. (Fat chance.)
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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by Dennis Spath » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:06 pm

You have to live here to understand the nature of Critical Thinking in Texas' "Born Again" political atmosphere. It follows from Texas boasting several thousands of Bible-believing Churches, where the grateful membership gladly fork over 10% of their gross income for the privilege of having their salvation guaranteed. The last thing they want to see is one of their children questioning "God's Word" in the Bible. Texas is also the home of dozens of Televangelists (aka Con Men) who convince gullible listeners they will be rewarded a hundredfold for every dollar contributed to further their preaching of God's Word.
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

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Re: Texas GOP officially opposes critical thinking courses

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:04 pm

Dennis Spath wrote:You have to live here to understand the nature of Critical Thinking in Texas' "Born Again" political atmosphere. It follows from Texas boasting several thousands of Bible-believing Churches, where the grateful membership gladly fork over 10% of their gross income for the privilege of having their salvation guaranteed. The last thing they want to see is one of their children questioning "God's Word" in the Bible. Texas is also the home of dozens of Televangelists (aka Con Men) who convince gullible listeners they will be rewarded a hundredfold for every dollar contributed to further their preaching of God's Word.
I think we understand that--all too well.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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