The Texas Republican Party has a plank in its 2012 official party platform that opposes the teaching of critical thinking skills in all the state’s schools.
In other words, Republicans are loath to have the state’s students do independent thinking, and one must assume, opposing in particular the concept of free inquiry. The plank statement read, “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills, critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” The platform further stipulates that “every Republican is responsible for implementing this platform.”
How in the name of education at any level can a political party of the 21st century be opposed to “Higher Order Thinking Skills” in any institution even remotely referred to as a school? When called out on it, the party says it was a mistake but is now stuck with the plank until the next state convention in 2014.
Should Republicans remain in control of Texas this coming November, I’ll bet the plank will remain in place. Such action must be considered in accordance with the Republican State Board of Education’s process of deliberately dumbing-down the state’s schoolbooks and thereby other state’s schoolbooks seeking to spread ignorance and superstition.
Paul Kurtz wrote, “Free inquiry requires that we tolerate diversity of opinion and that we respect the right of individuals to express their beliefs, however unpopular they may be, without social or legal prohibition or fear of success.”
Texas Republicans seek to eliminate free inquiry everywhere, beginning with students and much to the eventual disadvantage of Texas and its institutions. Texas Republicans seem to be more at home with the words of Martin Luther who declared, “Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and … know nothing but the word of God, to be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason.”
It seems to be headed the same in many, if not most southern states, and the U.S. will eventually pay the costs as other nations replace Americans in high tech and scientific inquiry. That’s the true shame, disgrace and eventual dishonor of the Texas Republican Party’s efforts at officially enforced ignorance and thought-control.