Friday, July 27, 2012

In the 2012 platform,

recently adopted by the Texas GOP, there are some unbelievable sections. One of the more controversial ones involves the opposition of critical thinking skills being taught in the education system. These include teachings that could undermine parental authority as well as cause the student to reconsider "fixed beliefs." 

My obvious concern with this is that, in my opinion, students should have the freedom to explore different beliefs and ways of thinking and that teachers should encourage this. How can a student experience intellectual growth if  they are forced to think with a never changing mindset? The great innovator Steve Jobs once said, "When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is, and...just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much...once you discover...that everything around you...was made up by people that were no smarter than you...and you change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can'll never be the same again." 

The Republican party is saying that it was a mistake to include "critical thinking" in the plank and that this mistake cannot be "fixed" until 2014. Word choice might have been overlooked in editing this important document, but how were the words "critical thinking" inserted there in the first place? And if that were truly a mistake, why would the plank include the statement of opposition of higher order thinking skills? A child/student should be allowed to explore higher thinking and have their thoughts challenged in order to contribute new ideas for the greater good of the world. Something about the opposition of critical thinking and of the opposition of challenging of a student's beliefs seems eerily 1984-like to me.

Censorship and restriction of higher thinking and critical thought processes extremely bothers me because as a people we cannot become mindless drones, stubborn to a change of mind and a lack of new idea contributions. Critical thinking is "thinking that questions assumptions." It is considered essential to many professions (think about how iPhone-less, we would all be if   not for Steve Jobs' critical thinking of the potentials of his abilities). A person should not be content with simple minded thinking and should be open to higher forms of thought. Intellectual thought is something that people cannot take away from you, when you have been stripped of your material things. Because a lifespan is so short, we should strive for bettering our minds to hopefully better society. Mistake or not, the addition of the opposition of "critical thinking" in the GOP platform is something that calls for concern.

1 comment:

jakerector said...

I hate Steve Jobs quotes. Don't get me wrong, I think Apple is an awesome company, mainly because of how Jobs ran it, but to be honest I think he was kind of an asshole. You're opinion, however is definitely something I can agree with. Critical thinking is critical (haha) in public education, including the questioning of traditional values and beliefs that go along with it. It seemed like in your blog post that you were making it out as if the GOP's platform was directly attacking "Higher Order Thinking Skills." The Republican party openly admitted that the inclusion of this specific text was a mistake, so it's hard to say that they are in fact openly against teaching kids how to think for themselves. The interesting part, and something that the GOP can't deny, is that they were at least considering making this anti-thinking stance an official part of their platform. This would make sense, as the conservative ideology prefers to keep things traditional, and critically questioning traditional, parent-taught values doesn't really mesh well with Texas Republicans that lean far to the right. However, the GOP knows that actually stating this in something as official and concrete as their political platform would drive away more moderate conservatives, aka the people that decide elections. So here's my deduced insight into the Texas Republican Party: A) They accidentally included a section in their official platform that states an intention to eliminate critical thinking in publican school curriculum, B) They openly stated that this was an accident and that the Republican Party does not in fact want to critical thinking in schools, C) In my head this means that the Texas GOP does in fact want to strip kids of the right to think for themselves, they just don't want to tell anybody else about it because they know how crazy that sounds. This actually kind of scares me. So it's up to you and I Mindy to keep progressivist thinking in schools. Just because Republicans are too scared to openly attack it now, doesn't mean they won't try in the future.