The Texas GOP’s Real Mistake: Thinking? Misunderstanding? Fearing?

I thoroughly enjoyed Colbert’s skewering of the Texas GOP 2012 Platform, which involves a rejection of “critical thinking skills.” The Washington Post quoted the statement as such:

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.

Taking into consideration that the platform also mentions that multicultural education is “divisive,” and that they support “objective teaching” and “school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles,” I am wondering if what they meant was critical as in critical literacies or critical race theory and the like. I can just imagine a particularly conservative person in the educational field making a case against critical theories or critical literacies, and someone outside of education thinking that these fit under the more generally-known concept “critical thinking skills” and then thought that these were also the same as “higher order thinking skills.”

Has anyone heard if that is the case?

In a statement from the Texas GOP they indicated that they did not intend to include critical thinking skills in their list (even though it was voted on and approved by the general assembly—after, as Colbert pointed out, it was said, written, read, and perhaps even discussed(?)—and cannot be edited out now). However, I think a misunderstanding of the concepts themselves is more likely the mistake they made.

(If you asked me, the real mistake is being afraid of youth practicing critical theories and literacies. But that’s just me. Is it you, too?)

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