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Forum Post: Texas GOP

Posted 8 years ago on July 7, 2012, 9:52 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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Texas GOP Declares: "No More Teaching of 'Critical Thinking Skills' in Texas Public Schools"

Saturday, 07 July 2012 08:03 By Danny Weil, Truthout | News Analysis


The Republican Party of Texas has issued their 2012 political platform and has come out and blatantly opposed critical thinking in public schools throughout the state. If you wonder what took them so long to actually state that publicly, it is really a matter of timing. With irrationality now the norm and an election hovering over the 2012 horizon, the timing of the Republican GOP announcement against "critical thinking" instruction couldn't be better. It helps gin up their anti-intellectual base. The Texas GOP's declarative position against critical thinking in public schools, or any schools, for that matter, is now an official part of their political platform. It is public record in the Republican Party of Texas 2012 platform. With regard to critical thinking, the Republican Party of Texas document states: "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." (page 20, Republican Party of Texas, 2012). Yes, challenging beliefs or claims is considered insubordinate, immoral and could lead to rebellion, disobedience or perhaps worse: revolution. For the Republican Party and their followers, thinking is subversive, imagination is a sin and the Republican Party in Texas and elsewhere is working to codify this into public policy. The plutocrats can't have a working-class citizenry that is asking questions of those in power, be they parents or bosses; instead, the people must be taught the ideology of what is morally acceptable, what rules and regulations to follow. and even more importantly, how to accept and internalize hierarchical authoritarianism. Critical thinking is a direct challenge to the "leaders" and their claims on authority, and any opposition to vertical arrangements is ethically unacceptable to those in power. Reactionaries have long known that enshrining ignorance and hierarchy in both thought and practice within the school curriculum is essential if the control of young minds is to be accomplished softly and quietly yet profoundly through propaganda and perception management. In the quarters of obedience training, "education" has nothing to do with "schooling" under capitalism.


Bill Moyers | Messing With Texas Textbooks

Friday, 06 July 2012 12:51 By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Co. | News Analysis


One of the tasks of the Texas State Board of Education is to update curriculum standards and textbooks for Texas schoolchildren. The Texas school system is so large — 4.8 million textbook-reading schoolchildren as of 2011 — that revisions made by the board are often included in school books across the country, though digital technology has lessened this effect in recent years. In 2010, the board got a lot of attention when it approved over 100 amendments — many of which had a very clear conservative political agenda — to the social studies and economics curriculum standards. Here are some of the more pointed proposals. Thomas Who? Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father considered by many to be the author of the Declaration of Independence, is also credited with coining the phrase “separation of church and state.” According to The New York Times, that coinage didn’t make him very popular with the conservative members of the board. They removed Jefferson from a list of great Enlightenment philosophers — including John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu and Jean Jacques Rousseau — who inspired political revolutions from the 1700s to today. They also removed the word “Enlightenment” and added Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. After much criticism, they added Jefferson back, but left out “Enlightenment” resulting in a standard very different from the original. Downplaying Religious Freedom A proposed amendment from one of the Democratic board members would have required students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” One Republican member argued that the “founders didn’t intend for separation of church and state in America” and called the statement “not historically accurate” and the conservative members voted down the standard. The board then added a new one that suggests the “separation of church and state” is not a key principle of the First Amendment. Censoring Capitalism Citing negative connotations, conservative board members decreed that all instances of the word “capitalism” should be replaced with “free-enterprise system.” They also objected to “democratic,” so “democratic societies” and “representative democracy” were replaced by “republic.” Any reference to American “imperialism” was also stricken and replaced with “expansionism.” In the textbooks, imperialism could only be associated with European and Russian colonialism.

"Super" Heroes? In perhaps the most blatant political move, the board passed an amendment requiring U.S. history students to learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s,” but not about liberal or minority groups. Conservative heroes including Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association were added, and more frequent mentions of President Ronald Reagan were encouraged. As Chairman Don McLeroy explained to the Washington Monthly: “He needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.” Bling’s the Thing Earlier this week, the Texas GOP released their 2012 platform which includes, among other controversial policy positions, a desire to return to the gold standard. The United States left the gold standard for good in 1971 and most economists agree that move was a good thing. The school board held a debate — unattended by any economists — and arbitrarily passed a revised standard that requires students to “analyze the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.” The Great Society (Maybe Not So Great?) The board approved a standard requiring students to learn about “any unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action and Title IX. Other attempts to change the way the civil rights movement was taught, including a provision that would require students learn that it created “unreasonable expectations for equal outcomes,” failed to pass. Socialists Get the Boot Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers of America, was dropped from a third grade list of “historical and contemporary figures who have exemplified good citizenship.” Conservative board members said Huerta is not a good role model for third-graders because she’s a socialist. Helen Keller, a staunch socialist, was left on the books.

Exhuming McCarthy Far right members of the board — hoping to lessen criticism of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s hearings — passed a standard that would make students learn “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.”

Googling Boondoggle South Texas artist Santa Barraza was recommended for inclusion in a 7th grade standard by a Latina board member. Another member googled the artist and was offended by one of her paintings that included minor female nudity. She showed it to her colleagues and they refused to add her to the standard. The Texas Freedom Network notes that several of Barraza’s paintings were hanging in the Texas governor’s mansion while George W. Bush was in residence in the 1990s. The conservative bloc also removed hip hop from a list of culturally significant musical genres.



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[-] 3 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 8 years ago

This simply has to be challenged and struck down. This is what Hitler did to the Hitler Youth. Create a blank slate for programming your goose-stepping propaganda and you can turn out nice little obediant robots that will willingly follow whatever insanity you choose to put there --- and to do this to public school students is completely vile!!!

This just shows you how desperate the Repubs are. They are desperate to hold on to their way of life and will resort to completely outrageous means to achieve it. Their foolishness just gets more and more blatant because they are out of ideas...they don't know what else to do and they are turning to mind control now.

I would hope this would qualify under restriction of free speech or something that the ACLU could pick up and run with. If this actually becomes law in Texas, it could set a precedent in other GOP controlled states. Anyone who does not want to have a future population incapable of questioning the status quo should be deeply alarmed about this!!!!

Thank you so much for posting this. This needs a very wide read in the general public.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

the latest version of windows has less utility

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 years ago

I suppose to promote this program of brain washing - that that is why they have the legalization of pot on the ballot.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

I see "critical thinking" skills in parenthesis

suggest the texas rubes may not have actual said that

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 years ago

With regard to critical thinking, the Republican Party of Texas document states: "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." (page 20, Republican Party of Texas, 2012).

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago


[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 years ago

Few things surprise me but for a group of politicians to shamelessly declare to the public that they're against critical thinking because it challenges beliefs and authority... I'm speechless.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 years ago

Texas to Test 1965 Voting Rights Law in Court

By Drew Singer | Reuters – 11 hrs ago


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Voting Rights Act - a cherished safeguard for minority voters since 1965 - has been under siege for two years and this week faces one of its toughest tests on an apparent path to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Twenty-five hours of argument, starting on Monday and spread over five days, will help the judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decide whether Texas can require voters to present a photo identification at the polls.

Formulated at a time of racial turmoil, the Voting Rights Act passed 77-19 in the U.S. Senate and 333-85 in the House of Representatives. The votes transcended party lines to protect black voters of all political ideals.

Ever since, it has served as the U.S. government's chief check on the fairness of election rules imposed by local governments.

While it passed with bipartisan support more than 45 years ago, a shift in political preferences along racial lines has turned the landmark piece of civil rights era legislation into a highly charged political issue.

In the 1960s, Democrats held a monopoly of voters in the Southern states. But since then, most white Southern voters have shifted allegiances to the Republican Party, while black and Hispanic voters moved further toward the left.

That shift did not fully manifest itself until congressional redistricting last year, Nathaniel Persily, a professor at Columbia Law School, wrote in a to-be-released article in the Stanford Law & Policy Review. There have been more challenges to the Voting Rights Act in the past two years than in the previous 45 years combined. Among those challenges have been a redistricting case in Alabama and Florida's purging of voter lists of non-citizens earlier this year. "We're seeing people who previously supported the act and what it stood for are now bringing challenges to it," said Ryan Haygood, director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.


In March, the Obama administration blocked a Texas law passed in 2011 requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls, saying it was unfair to minority voters. Texas sued the U.S. government, saying its measures were fair and the Justice Department had political motives in going after the law.

"I think it's a different Department of Justice than in the past," said Patricia Harless, a Republican who sponsored the voter ID law in the Texas House of Representatives. Harless said the Texas law was very similar to Georgia's, which the Justice Department did not block. Indiana also has a law requiring voters to have a photo ID and that will be a factor in the court's consideration of the Texas law. Because of the lawsuit, the U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., will host the first trial challenging the government's power to block a voter ID law since the Democratic Obama administration took office. Under the blocked Texas measure, voters would be required to show photo identification such as a driver's license or passport in order to cut down on voter fraud. Existing Texas law says voters have to show a voter registration card - which does not have a photo - or an acceptable alternative, such as a driver's license or a utility bill. Texas says the new measure will prevent voter fraud. Testimony in committee hearings showed cases of dead people casting ballots for Obama, but estimates on the breadth of voter fraud differ dramatically. The Justice Department counters that Hispanic voters are up to twice as likely to lack the required form of identification as their Caucasian counterparts. For them, getting a photo ID could be a headache. Haygood represents a group of black students who want to vote in Texas but were born in other states. The new law allows handgun licenses to serve as voter identification but not student IDs. Some of the students do not have birth certificates, and under the new law, must contact their home counties and pay for one if they want to vote, Haygood said. Two of the three judges on the panel were appointed by Democratic presidents so it might seem unlikely the court would overturn the Obama administration. The Texas voter ID dispute is one of dozens of challenges to the Voting Rights Act aimed not just at defending voting changes but also at getting the Supreme Court to strike down the law for good, Persily said. The Supreme Court last considered the Voting Rights Act in 2009 in upholding Indiana law but narrowly tailored its judgment to delay ruling on the constitutionality of the entire law. The new wave of disputes that emerged from the 2011 redistricting cycle likely will force the court to take more definitive action as soon as this spring. The Voting Rights Act places the burden on Texas to prove that the laws do not leave minority voters in a more difficult position to vote than they were in before the new law.


Today, party lines in the South often mirror racial lines, Persily said. Southern whites tend to support Republicans and most minorities favor Democrats.

Record minority turnouts in the 2008 presidential election have helped to make the issue a partisan one.

"Actions and interpretations that previously would not have raised partisan eyebrows are now seen as outrages," Persily wrote.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act allows the federal government to block voting rules changes in certain Southern states with a particularly heavy history of racial repression.

No matter how aggressively the Justice Department invokes that section, at least one side of today's political spectrum will be unhappy. Enforce it often and face Republican accusations of overreaching into the states' sovereignty; Enforce it rarely and face Democratic accusations of shirking minority protections; Enforce it selectively and, ironically, face accusations of playing politics.

"The Voting Rights Act wasn't designed to be enmeshed in partisan politics," Persily told Reuters, "And that's what is happening now."

The Texas lawsuit for approval of the voter identification law is: State of Texas v. Holder in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 12-cv-128. The judicial panel is composed of Appeals Judge David Tatel, District Judge Robert Wilkins and District Judge Rosemary Collyer.

(Additional reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Howard Goller and Bill Trott)

(This story has been refiled to fix typo in the lead)

[-] 1 points by writerconsidered123 (344) 8 years ago

my critical thinking skills tell me you can't teach critical thinking skills let's re-phrase it you can't teach common sense

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 8 years ago

Ok, so what's your point? Why would a "disadvantaged" student require that thought processes by stimulated through a program such as HOTS?

Why would anyone consider Enlightenment philosophy when the Father's ultimately discarded all as "monarchists" (read Jefferson and Adams).

Separation of Church and State is a Puritan concept; it dates to John Wycliffe, implemented for the first time in world history by the Non-Separatist "Dissenter," as a sentiment shared by tradition of the Virginian Anglican. No where in the Constitution does it use the word "separation"; it says that they shall "make no law abridging" but as long as our God is perceived as a "righteous" God, there can be no separation - our laws really should be "good." The Constitution attempts to prevent the institution of evil by guaranteeing certain definite freedoms as the basis of "liberty."

Of course, you wouldn't know ANY of these things because you were educated in the American schools where our school curriculum is designed by people who lack both critical thinking skills and the education that they purport to convey to you. Such a shame that you were NOT told the truth about your own history. Because if you had been, you would have learned to apply "critical thought," and gained the advantage of a much deeper philosophy, and a much truer sense, of what government and freedom in this Nation of Law really are.

Requiring ID is nothing in light of voter fraud; personally I'm rather surprised Texas is not branding the legal aliens. Oh, I forgot, we have a "Constitution," don't we? Or at least we did have until recently.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 7 years ago

Separation of church and state arrives via John Wycliffe through the Puritan. And yes, he not only wrote of it but used these specific words. The Puritans actually derived more from those such as Wycliffe than they did of Calvin (Calvinist is an exaggerated fictional creation; they share for example, "predestination" but very little else). None of the Founding Fathers were influenced in any significant way by Enlightenment philosophers; all were ultimately discarded as monarchists. So I think it really becomes a question of truth; to continue with this fictional account of the history of our cultural mindset, this fictional creation, or teach truth. There is this tendency to believe, I think, that only "truth can set you free"; also that it lends greater understanding. If education is incapable of critically researching history, what makes you suspect they are capable of teaching critical thought?