LABELING: WHAT YOU CALL SOMETHING AND WHAT IT IS ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE SAME THING II

July 7, 2012 in Commentary, Uncategorized

In my last post I said I’d parse the Texas Republican Party Platform statement:

(We stand for)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 students fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Is this a statement opposing critical thinking or the teaching thereof? Maybe, though I personally think not. The kernel of the statement is:

“…We oppose…programs …which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the students fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

That’s it! In the eyes of the party, “(HOTS)(values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are taught or being used in the school system… are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE)(mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the students fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. We may, or may not, agree with whether or not this is the job of our educational institutions but I suggest that how we view this will most certainly depend on whose “Ox” is being gored. I would have stated this item somewhat differently leaving little or no room for mischief and interpretation.

In closing I point out, unless we have a complete knowledge of what is meant by the terms HOTS, values clarification, critical thinking skills, Outcome-Based Education (OBE)(mastery learning), and their use within the context of the party platform, we fail to exercise our own critical thinking skills when we pass judgement on this plank in the party platform and attack it as an attack on the teaching of critical thinking.

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