Republican Party members in Texas may be in denial that they live in the 21st century, based on their sentiments on knowledge-based education. In the 2012 Texas GOP party platform released over the summer, the organization addressed some strong concerns on the topic:
“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, the party hates liberalism in all forms, especially in education. What could be more horrifying than if children were able to think for themselves? Whether it be a poor choice of words, the Texas GOP seems to be pretty explicit in their claims. Other topics that are defined under the “knowledge-based education” category are early childhood education and sex education. Needless to say the platform quickly received backlash.
Comedian Stephen Colbert joined in the mockery on his show filled with political satire The Colbert Report. “We have blindly accepted the idea of not blindly accepting ideas," joked Colbert.
As expected, the Texas GOP addressed the criticism. Republican Party of Texas Communications Director Chris Elam told talkingpointsmemo.com (TPM) that the critical thinking bit in the platform was simply published in error.
“… 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. 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,” Elam said.
Elam also mentioned that the controversial wording can not be addressed until the next party convention in 2014. Until then, Americans can marvel at the outrageous claims. The Texas GOP platform brings attention to a deeper issue. “… behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
The Republican Party has long thrived on the foundations of “sticking to the status-quo.” However in an age where the current generation is living in a time different from their parents, change is necessary. The education system was not designed for children to reject their parents’ ideas, but rather to allow children to look at the world objectively. Education is an integral component to reaching adulthood, and modifying the system for the fear of children becoming Democrats is a bit extreme.