Texas GOP Makes Opposition to "Critical Thinking Skills" Official Policy Until 2014, Now Claiming it Was an Accident
Texas Republicans are saying that their 2012 platform's opposition to "critical thinking skills" was a mistake—but that mistake is now the formal policy of the Republican Party of Texas until 2014.
The stated reasoning behind opposition to critical thinking skills was that such education programs "focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." As Hunter described this logic:
Critical thinking, of course, is what allows a person to differentiate between fact and hokum. I will assume that this is the peeve being addressed by the party plank (which, as it turns out, doubles as a handy paddlin' board). Differentiating between fact and hokum sounds all fine and good until it leads to questioning your elders. When elders spout hokum, now that needs to be properly respected. If your elders say the Loch Ness Monster is proof that evolution never happened and that Noah's Ark was actually a hovercraft, you had better damn well not start using your newfound critical thinking skills on picking apart that. Believing something contrary to your parents counts as behavior modification only if the original behavior was a full-on brainwashing.
But don't worry! Its inclusion in the formal platform of the Republican Party of Texas was all a mistake. As a party spokesman told TPM,
"[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."
Since they "regret" it, no harm, no foul, right? About that. Even if we take them at their word that this was in fact a mistake rather than just being something you regret when you get caught, and aside from the fact that this regretted mistake remains official party policy, it's pretty damn clear that the party's Education Subcommittee seriously discussed its opposition to critical thinking skills and included said opposition in some advanced drafts of its part of the platform. I think we can safely say Texas Republicans don't support critical thinking skills, anyway.