The State & Education

I’m of the opinion that the state cannot spend too much money on education.  Ever dollar spent reaps rewards many fold over.

While the modern Republicans are more than happy to put words in the mouths of the Founding Fathers, and claim them as their own and no one else’s, if you return to the source material it is clear there is little in common between the two.

“Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to ; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson  [The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series 12:442]

Meanwhile Republicans in Texas frame a platform that is so horrific that a Forbes blogger says “it is difficult to believe that what the Republicans put together during their convention in Fort Worth was even written in the 21st century.”

In particular the platform says we should not teach children to think.  Literally.  As if that is not the entire intent of (public) schooling.  (I can’t personally speak toward the intent of private or home schooling, but hope they would intend the same.)  I’m not sure whether it’s Double Speak or sarcasm that places their opinion under the title “Educating Our Children”.

Here’s the full text in context:

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. [p12]

So the subtext here is that if we teach logic to children they might be able to “out think” their parents.  I certainly increasingly had rational discussions/arguments with my parents the more I grew/learned.  Those are stepping stones to becoming an adult.  Sounds like a muddy path is the one preferred in this platform.

Later in the same platform they add the following:

We support curricula that are heavily weighted on original founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Founders’ writings. [p13, Traditional Principals]

Definitely sending mixed messages here, there’s nothing but higher order thinking going on in the Founders’ writings.

To be fair such Janus-faced statements are to be expected in a document by committee, and there are dozens more in this document

Two weeks ago House Speaker John Boehner (R) said “Have you ever met anybody who read the party platform? I’ve never met anybody.”[WSJ]  (His context was one in which candidate Mitt Romney wouldn’t seek an ultimate abortion ban despite the Platform calling for it.)  He also added the documents should only be a page long.  Reading the Texas Republican Party Platform for 2012, I am tempted to agree with him.