The 80.2 percent North Carolina graduation rate was not a coincidence; instead, it was the culmination of hard work by students, the success of their pivotal ninth grade year, and the push for teachers to teach to the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy where they accept nothing less than the HOTS, or higher order thinking skills.
Will somebody please tell the Texas GOP that this is the way to continue to increase graduation rates in their state? If it’s left up to the Texas GOP, there will be no teaching of the HOTS because they now prefer a delivery of the LOTS, or lower order thinking skills.
Apparently, the Texas GOP’s wish is to see school children not challenge authority, not develop their own beliefs, not think critically, and become mindless robots like those Aldous Huxley spoke of in the novel Brave New World. Evidence that they wish to see this done is found in a newly adopted doctrine.
The 2012 version of the Texas GOP Party Platform reads: “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills, critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
Conversely, the 2012 version of the Texas Democratic Party Platform reads: “Texas Democrats believe all children should have access to an exemplary educational program that values and encourages critical thinking and creativity, not the “drill and kill” teach‐to‐the‐test policy…”
Texas puts a new hue on the perception of the South based on their new platform. After this revised GOP party platform document was made public, one commenter that goes by “C Peterson” wrote, “We had this golden opportunity 150 years ago to let the South go, and we fought a bloody war to keep it in the U.S.A. What were we thinking?”
That statement is harsh, but “C Peterson’s” point is plausible considering that we live in a nation where, as a child, I was always told, “the sky is the limit, think critically, be your own person, don’t follow the crowd.” This Texas doctrine refutes those lessons, and it provides little in the way of defense against those who already have ill-conceived notions of the South as slow, backwards, and unprogressive.
If their graduation rate and dropout rates are to improve, the Texas GOP could stand some professional staff development in the delivery of Dr. Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy. It suggests that lower order thinking skills involves asking questions like “How many,” “What is the meaning of,” or “What is the main idea.” During their training session, they can be taught that it is progressive to move towards more questions like “Develop a more appropriate solution to…,” “Defend your stance on…,” or “Can you devise a plan for…” Helping students move towards more outcome-based education results and helping them to become their own citizens may also improve test scores, for critical thinking promotes responsibility within the learner.
To promote the GOP’s understanding that critical thinking is not sinful and contrary to the state’s famous slogan, somebody SHOULD mess with Texas.