Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Republicans and Critical Thinking

In my colleague Veronica’s blog, “Government: Bigger in Texas”, she discusses how the Republican Party is against teaching students critical thinking skills in public schools in the blog she posted on August 10, 2012. I pretty much had the same reaction she did and went “wait, what?” when I read this quote she posted,

“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.”

This was posted by the Republican Party in its 2012 platform.  I actually had to go back and read it again because I thought I had read it wrong. 

I agree with Veronica that it is pretty ridiculous that they tried to claim this was a ‘mistake’. I don’t see how a statement like that could be overlooked and I think they were just trying to save their butts when it became obvious that the general public did not agree with their statement.  Critical thinking is a very important skill for students to possess, especially growing up in a country like the United States where we have so many options once we branch away from our parents and move out into the world as a ‘grown-up’. People need to able to think at a higher level and assess all sides in a situation not only in the work world, but also in day to day activities. They need to be able to form their own opinions and not just think they have to be stuck believing everything their told by others, like their parents. Taking such an important and effective skill away from students is setting them up for failure once they become adults, and with public education being in the shape it is in Texas, the last thing that needs to be done is to make things worse.

In another blog I read called, “Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really.”, Valerie Straus discusses the same issue and goes on to list out other things the Republican Party is also against, such as sex education, early childhood education, and multicultural education. Wow. Like Veronica said in her blog, Texas education is already in bad shape. With the Republicans having views like this towards education, it does not make me think things are going to get any better if they have control.

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