I thought I’d heard enough about the Texas Republican Party’s platform that rejects the teaching of critical thinking skills until I heard Stephen Colbert’s take on it, says Valerie Strauss, columnist for the Washington Post. I wrote about this recently here, quoting from the platform:
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.
After this was ridiculed, Texas GOP Communications Director Chris Elam told TPM.com that it was a mistake and that opposition to “critical thinking” wasn’t supposed to be part of the platform. Since a party convention approved the platform, it can’t just be dropped, he said. Sure thing. Colbert returned to “The Colbert Report” from vacation this week and couldn’t resist taking a hilarious shot at this as part of a piece that is described on the show’s website like this: “The minds of young people are being poisoned by knowledge, but thankfully Texas is the Large Hadron Collider of denying science.”