Texas GOP Opposes Teaching Critical Thinking Skills?

The Republican Party of Texas put the following into its 2012 platform:

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.


Contacted by TPM on Thursday, Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Communications Director Chris Elam said the “critical thinking skills” language made it into the platform by mistake.

“[The chairman of the Education Subcommittee] indicated that it was an oversight of the committee, that the plank should not have included ‘critical thinking skills’ after ‘values clarification,’” Elam said. “And it was not the intent of the subcommittee to present a plank that would have indicated that the RPT in any way opposed the development of critical thinking skills.”

Elam said the members of the subcommittee “regret” the oversight, but because the mistake was part of the platform approved by the convention, “it cannot be corrected until the next state convention in 2014.”

Full Story: Texas GOP’s 2012 Platform Opposes Teaching Of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’

(hat tip: Trevor)

Texas re-writing history books for the entire country

Greatest Texan Ever
Art by Matthew Clay-Robison

“We are fighting for our children’s education and our nation’s future,” Dunbar said. “In Texas we have certain statutory obligations to promote patriotism and to promote the free enterprise system. There seems to have been a move away from a patriotic ideology. There seems to be a denial that this was a nation founded under God. We had to go back and make some corrections.”

Those corrections have prompted a blizzard of accusations of rewriting history and indoctrinating children by promoting rightwing views on religion, economics and guns while diminishing the science of evolution, the civil rights movement and the horrors of slavery.

Several changes include sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favoured separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the “significant contributions” of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war.

How does the effect the rest of the country?

The curriculum has alarmed liberals across the country in part because Texas buys millions of text books every year, giving it considerable sway over what publishers print. By some estimates, all but a handful of American states rely on text books written to meet the Texas curriculum. The California legislature is considering a bill that would bar them from being used in the state’s schools.

Guardian: Texas schools board rewrites US history with lessons promoting God and guns

(Thanks Katie Monster!)

Update: Some doubts about Texas’s national influence on textbooks from the Texas Tribune (via Jon Lebkowsky)

Turning Kids into Sex Offenders

Imagine how DeMarcus Blackwell felt when he was told that his son Chris had engaged in “sexual contact and/or sexual harassment” at school. School officials in Waco, Texas, said Chris rubbed his face in the chest of a female teachers’ aide.

Well, before you can imagine this father’s reaction, you need to know one other fact: His son was 4 years old when the “sexual” incident occurred.

What got Chris into trouble was giving the aide a hug. Only after DeMarcus strenuously complained did the school change the boy’s record from “sexual harassment” to “inappropriate physical contact.”

At least Chris wasn’t sent to jail, as were 13-year-old Cory Mashburn and 12-year-old Ryan Cornelison of McMinnville, Ore. The boys were charged with five counts of felony sex abuse in the first degree because of their conduct toward some 13-year-old girls at their middle school.

Full Story: Town Hall.

(via ifeminists.com).

See also: Classically Liberal’s coverage of the Matthew Brady case.

Private space travel news

Amazon boss shows off spacecraft:

The billionaire founder of Amazon.com has released the first images of the launch of a private spacecraft that could bring space travel to the masses.

A video of the cone-shaped Goddard vehicle shows it climbing to about 85m (285ft) before returning back to Earth.

The test launch took place in November 2006 in a remote part of Texas, but details have only now been released.

(reminded by Nerdshit).

Stephen Hawking plans to go into space in 2009:

World renowned British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking wants to go to a place he has only theorized about in his long career: space.

“This year I’m planning a zero-gravity flight and to go into space in 2009,” he was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Hawking, 65, has said he hopes to travel on British businessman Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic service, which is scheduled to launch in 2009. The service will charge space tourists about $200,000 US for a two-hour, suborbital trip some 140 kilometres above the Earth.

(via Monkey Filter).

Frequency 23 podcast: Bart Black

Frequency 23’s new podcast is up. This month:

This audio footage comes from a very special field agent, currently stationed somewhere in Texas. Our agent somehow managed to contact Bart Black, a contemporary of Alex Jones among others, for an interview regarding Bart’s own TV show based in Houston, “Frequency Clear”. “Frequency Clear” is a source for alternative news geared towards fighting the information war, guerilla media activism, and advocating for the First Amendment. Bart was gracious enough to accept our correspondent as a personal guest in his office and workspace, and the resulting interview touches upon the pending police state, the mother of all conspiracy theories, and life on the frontline of the information war.

Download at Frequency 23.

Praise “Bob”, slack off, lose custody of your child

Praise “Bob”, slack off, lose custody of your child. A Texas woman has lost custody of her son, not even being allowed to write to him, because she was involved in activities of the Church of the Subgenius. Although her son never attended any of the events, which involved fun, nudity, and good old-fashioned blasphemy, a New York judge, James P. Punch, allegedly a “strict catholic”, has denied custody of the child Kohl out of anger after seeing videos of the church’s devivals and X-days.

Full Story: MetaFilter .

(via Post Atomic )

School distributes satanic sex calendar

Way to go Officer Barbrady!

Local school officials in a suburb of Houston, Texas, are investigating how it was possible that a school police officer handed out calendars to students that featured explicit details on satanic and sexual rituals for every day of the month.

Link (via Wu).

Bat Boy in love with Jenna Bush

Campus police and the Secret Service report that Bat Boy has a thing for Jenna Bush and has made several attempts to see her at the University of Texas in Austin. Link (via Fark).

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