Friday, June 29, 2012

Making "Stupid" Official Education Policy

When you read the Texas GOP's platform, you might understandably think you are reading a piece from the satirical website "The Onion". Sadly, you would be mistaken.

The Daily Kos points out that the platform promotes some of the more common but wacky GOP talking points, such as privatizing Social Security and gay bashing. But they also slipped in something that even the GOP has yet dared to broach.

They want schools to stop teaching kids to think.'s right there:

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 Texas GOP is saying, "We gotta keep them durn schools from edumacatin' our children. If we let the young'uns learn how to think, next thing you know they might believe Adam and Eve didn't ride dinosaurs!"

We shouldn't be surprised, really. The entire education "reform" movement has, as its primary unspoken goal, an eventual dumbing down of our kids. Teach them literature? Screw that--we have the Common Core! Teach them to analyze what they read? No way---we have tests to bubble in and they'd better get those bubbles right or teachers will get fired!

Is this kind of institutionalized stupidity coming our way? Don't kid yourself--it's already here. Charter schools are mostly test prep mills, and our public schools are not far behind (yes, I know the charters claim to be public schools, but I have the critical thinking skills to know they are not). The Common Core wants our kids to read almost nothing other than boring non-fiction because literature contains ideas. Writing portions of exams reward students who simply regurgitate what they have read and penalize original thought because it can't be found "in the text".

While Barack Obama is no friend of teachers, I shudder to think what will happen to education should the republicans gain control of the White House. Texas has long "led the way" in education because of the stranglehold they've gained over textbook publishers. Would Mitt Romney make stupidity official education policy? I have no doubt of it. The GOP has long been a party that embraces stupidity--think G.W. Bush, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin.

"Stupid" would be the new smart. On the plus side, you could ride a government subsidized T Rex in a Jesus themed amusement park. The choice is yours.


Pete Zucker said...

We just can't blame the Texas GOP. The current leadership of today's Democratic Party is just as guilty of this. They just have the brains not to say it.

Jennifer Graham said...

If we want change and reform in the education policy, I think, it should all start with us. Yes, the government holds the highest approval in it but I think, simple initiative will make a change in the pace of our education.