Jul 11, 2012

ARTICLE: Republican Platform

Texas Republican Party Calls For Abstinence Only Sex Ed, Corporal Punishment In Schools 

So, I read the "Educating Our Children" section of the platform. Here are some ideas.

"American Identity Patriotism and Loyalty – We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism."

I believe that patriotism is actually the support of one's country. Now, I'm expected to say the Texas pledge, so I do. However, personally, I find it to be a distraction from national pride--it's almost contrary to patriotism.
"Classroom Discipline – We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more authority to deal with disciplinary problems. Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas."

You know, there are other ways to reach children. I'm not speaking against corporal punishment--I just wish it wasn't a point to their platform.

"Early Childhood Development – We believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development."

This is not uncommon in some countries, beginning school at age seven. Given the emphasis on testing and more testing, it's not a bad idea. Let them stay home, play, build their imaginations, enjoy life.

"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."

Uh, what?

"Educational Entitlement – We encourage legislation that prohibits enrollment in free public schools of non-citizens unlawfully present in the United States."


I hate the idea of punishing children for their parents' actions. I know that folks are here unlawfully and that needs to stop, but we're mixing issues here, aren't we? If schools are closed to illegal non-citizens, will that change things? Or do we care?

"Funding of Education – We urge the Legislature to direct expenditures to academics as the first priority."

I won't hold my breath.

"Local Control of Education – We support school choice and believe that quality education is best achieved by encouraging parental involvement, protecting parental rights, and maximizing local independent school district control. District superintendents and their employees should be made solely accountable to their locally elected boards. We support sensible consolidation of local school districts. We encourage local ISDs to consider carefully the advantages and disadvantages of accepting federal education money."

Look at that first sentence again. That's some kind of crap. Really? Quality education has nothing to do with teachers and autonomy and high expectations and joyful classrooms and... okay, parental involvement is important, but they left out the other stuff.

"Parental School Choice – We encourage the Governor and the Texas Legislature to enact child-centered school funding options which fund the student, not schools or districts, to allow maximum freedom of choice in public, private, or parochial education for all children."

Did you see it? Child-centered school funding. A nice touch. I'm all for it. Seriously, let's just get this over with. Give everyone a choice, and a voucher or golden ticket. Watch what happens. Nothing or worse than nothing. At least everyone will shut up about it.

"U.S. Department of Education – Since education is not an enumerated power of the federal government, we believe the Department of Education (DOE) should be abolished."

Go for it. I'd like to add, though, that we should drastically limit state control also. Let's create mini-districts with autonomous schools. I have no idea what that would look like, but it sounds fun.

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