Tuesday, May 07, 2013

the eyes of texas

The platform of the Republican Party of Texas for 2012 reads in part: 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."

But the trouble is, when you come down to it, higher order thinking skills, or outcome based schooling are just other names for education, because without them, there is no education.

Pursuing those goals naturally leads one into conflict with some parents and also most of the leaders of society, all of whom have agendas. The purpose of education isn't to "undermine parental authority," It does happen, but that's  collateral damage.

There was a very effective teacher 2,500 years ago who taught nothing but higher order thinking skills. He upset the august fathers of society so much they made him drink poison.

While he lay dying, I'll bet he asked his students, who were standing around him crying, whether the hemlock juice he'd just drunk was both necessary and sufficient to kill him. Or was it necessary, but insufficient? Or was it sufficient, but entirely unnecessary.

Then he died, just like George Washington, whom, one of my students once informed me, "died when his hard stopped beating."

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