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.