Veronica Barfield’s Blog, entitled “Government: Bigger in Texas,” touched on a very interesting and recent declaration from Texas’ Republican Party, her comments on which can be found here. In their defense of Knowledge-Based Education, the party has gone as far to say they oppose teachings of critical thinking: “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 (page 20, Republican Party of Texas, 2012).” In accordance with Ms. Barfield’s commentary, such a declaration is absolutely ridiculous.
Although the party desires obedient children, preventing students from generating their own beliefs, or imagining an alternative, is extremely unproductive. Imagination fuels innovation, understanding, and allows obstacles to be overcome. By preventing students from acquiring such problem-solving skills, how will they achieve anything new? How will they adjust to the structure of collegiate-level coursework? Will they ever desire, or be able, to understand diverse cultures and people? Without such skills, I highly doubt it. With Texas dominated by Republicans, no wonder the state is renowned for being so closed minded. To them, ignorance is bliss and knowledge is set. Hell, maybe they still think the Earth is flat. However, as students of many backgrounds and beliefs populate the state, the many non-Republican supporters should not have to suffer. This is unfair and unrepresentative, but until minorities come out to vote in greater numbers, inevitable. Such policies would be another blow to an already broken education system.
Source: “Texas GOP Declares: ‘No More Teaching of “Critical Thinking Skills” in Texas Public Schools.’” Truthout. http://truth-out.org/news/item/10144-texas-gop-declares-no-more-teaching-of-critical-thinking-skills-in-texas-public-schools