Texas Republicans Choose Ignorance

March 13, 2013

Don’t know much about history….

Many readers have probably heard that Texas has approved a revisionist view for their school textbooks.
From The New York Times:

 

“AUSTIN, Tex. — After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.”
(snip)
“In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.”
(snip)
“They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” … “In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”
“Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation,” said one conservative member, Terri Leo. “You know, ‘capitalist pig!’ ” …”Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)
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(DR)- So that’s the background. The problem is, Texas tends to call the shots on which textbooks are adopted in other states. My understanding of this is because of the shear volume of books used by Texas students. That means your kid may be reading about Phyllis Schlafly instead of Thomas Jefferson.
Now, even worse; Texatards have set a new standard in ignorance by calling for the end of teaching “Critical thinking skills”.

From The Washington Post:

Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really.

By Valerie Strauss

“In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff department, here’s what the Republican Party of Texas wrote into its 2012 platform as part of the section on education:
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.

Yes, you read that right. The party opposes the teaching of “higher order thinking skills” because it believes the purpose is to challenge a student’s “fixed beliefs” and undermine “parental authority.”
It opposes, among other things, early childhood education, sex education, and multicultural education, but supports “school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded.”

(DR)- Further down in the article a cognitive scientist defines “critical thinking”:

” Critical thinking consists of seeing both sides of an issue, being open to new evidence that disconfirms your ideas, reasoning dispassionately, demanding that claims be backed by evidence, deducing and inferring conclusions from available facts, solving problems, and so forth. Then too, there are specific types of critical thinking that are characteristic of different subject matter: That’s what we mean when we refer to “thinking like a scientist” or “thinking like a historian.”
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So here we see that the “Flat Earth Society” is still alive and kicking. These people want to literally roll back “The Enlightenment”
The thing they are most scared of is their own children. They would prefer to “Home Fool” the kids and keep them out of public education. Failing that, they will remodel the education system to conform to their supernatural beliefs. The last thing they want to hear when they come home from a long day greeting people at the entrance of Wallmart is questions from their kid about where babies come from, or why are we having so many tornadoes these days.

So good luck Texatards.
Maybe Chuck Norris and Rick Perry had a point: you could  just secede from the rest of the country. Let’s see how your Big Red State manages on it’s own.

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