The Burning Bush - Flammable Education Policy

Images adapted from:
Burning Bush - http://goo.gl/SddwK
Republican Party of Texas - http://goo.gl/TTWVS
Dr. Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant) and Doug Johnson (Blue Skunk) noticed that the 2012 Texas Republican platform includes a piece that defies reason--higher order thinking and critical thinking are opposed by Texas Republicans.
We [Texas Republicans] oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that...have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
The reasons why they oppose it are surprising but not unexpected--it's an attack against outcome based education, whatever the heck that means.
Outcome-based education (OBE) is a student-centered learning philosophy that focuses on empirically measuring student performance, which are called outcomes. OBE contrasts withtraditional education, which primarily focuses on the resources that are available to the student, which are called inputs. While OBE implementations often incorporate a host of many progressive pedagogical models and ideas, such as reform mathematicsblock schedulingproject-based learning and whole language reading, OBE in itself does not specify or require any particular style of teaching or learning. Instead, it requires that students demonstrate that they have learned the required skills and content. However in practice, OBE generally promotes curricula and assessment based on constructivist methods and discourages traditional education approaches based on direct instruction of facts and standard methods. (Source: Wikipedia)
In a world where children must rely on their parents to do their thinking for them, where the ignorant populace must rely on a few Republican ringleaders to give them permission on how and what to do, thinking on your own just isn't an option. Huh?

But this approach doesn't work. You can tell someone what to do all their life...but what happens when you die? Even God doesn't pretend to tell someone what to do. Suggestions, dialogue (a.k.a. prayer and serendipity), encouragement...but outright, "DO THIS. THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO NOW." Well, only billboards paid by millionaires and subliminal advertisers attempt this.

Trust me...as one parent to another, this approach doesn't work, Texas Republicans.

I learned this lesson from my eldest child, a young lady who usually did what she was told. One day, we presented her with a problem that she should be able to solve herself. Solve it, we implied, expecting her to get to work, instinctively knowing how to solve an information problem. We were shocked when she had no clue where to start. That highlighted a failure in our parenting. We'd focused so hard on getting her to do what we thought was right that perhaps critical thinking centers of the brain atrophied.

The reason our daughter couldn't solve a problem wasn't because she wasn't smart enough, but because we had failed to make ourselves progressively unnecessary, allowing her to step up and solve problems, question our thinking--and her own--as well as be able to explain that oppositional perspective. The problem is either/or thinking. It's either MY way or the YOUR way, and your way is always wrong.
...critical thinking, meaning the ability to question your own assumptions and the assumptions of others. If you agree vehemently with something and think it’s the most brilliant idea that you’ve ever heard, to practice the art of articulating why you feel that way. To apply some reasoning to your emotions, for better or for worse. 
To look a piece of research and wonder about the sources of the information or the bias of the analyst or the motivation for the company who sponsored the study. To know that the author who wrote the best-selling book is still capable of turning out an article that’s not so great (and that that’s perfectly normal, human, and okay, not cause for an internet uprising). Source: Brass Tack Thinking - Critical Thought is Endangered
Fellow Texas Parents:
I urge you to question your own assumptions about how to educate the children of Texas. In truth, you are raising yourself up as "Chief Thinker and Problem-Solver." And, the problem with that is that our children--who can model how to be Learners in Chief-- have the potential to do the job better than you...if you stop trying to do their thinking for them and expect them to merely be smaller versions of yourself.

Warm regards,
A fellow parent

"Those who think they 'know' from the beginning will never, in fact, come to know anything."
- Thomas Merton



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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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