So where do Texas Republicans stand on education and family issues? After reading their new 2012 platform, some folks might argue that Texans stand alone in many of their views on schooling.
While there are many elements of the newly adopted Texas GOP platform that the Georgia GOP would applaud, I am not sure that many Peach State Republicans would take a stand against the teaching of “higher order thinking skills” and “critical thinking skills.” In fact, our Legislature often talks about the need to teach critical thinking and higher order skills.
Education Spending – Since data is clear that additional money does not translate into educational achievement, and higher education costs are out of control, we support reducing taxpayer funding to all levels of education institutions.
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.
Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.
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.
Parental Rights in Education – We believe the right of parents to raise and educate their children is fundamental. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from any specialized program. We urge the Legislature to enact penalties for violation of parental rights.
Sex Education – We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.
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.
Private Education – We believe that parents and legal guardians may choose to educate their children in private schools to include, but not limited to, home schools and parochial schools without government interference, through definition, regulation, accreditation, licensing, or testing.
Religious Freedom in Public Schools – We urge school administrators and officials to inform Texas school students specifically of their First Amendment rights to pray and engage in religious speech, individually or in groups, on school property without government interference. We urge the Legislature to end censorship of discussion of religion in our founding documents and encourage discussing those documents.
School Surveys and Testing – Public schools should be required to obtain written parental consent for student participation in any test or questionnaire that surveys beliefs, feelings, or opinions. Parental rights, including viewing course materials prior to giving consent, should not be infringed.
Textbook Review – Until such time as all texts are required to be approved by the SBOE, each ISD that uses non-SBOE approved instructional materials must verify them as factually and historically correct. Also the ISD board must hold a public hearing on such materials, protect citizen’s right of petition and require compliance with TEC and legislative intent. Local ISD boards must maintain the same standards as the SBOE.
School Health Care – We urge legislators to prohibit reproductive health care services, including counseling, referrals, and distribution of condoms and contraception through public schools. We support the parents’ right to choose, without penalty, which medications are administered to their minor children. We oppose medical clinics on school property except higher education and health care for students without parental consent.
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.
Zero Tolerance – We believe that zero tolerance policies in schools should specify those items that will not be tolerated at schools. The policy should be posted on ISD websites.
Foreign Culture Charter Schools in Texas – We oppose public funding of charter schools which receive money from foreign entities. We demand that these Charter Schools have accountability and transparency to local parents, taxpayers, the State of Texas, as do current public schools, including U.S. citizenship of public school trustees.
Supporting Motherhood ― We strongly support women who choose to devote their lives to their families and raising their children. We recognize their sacrifice and deplore the liberal assault on the family.
Child Abuse – We recognize the family as a sovereign authority over which the state has no right to intervene, unless a parent or legal guardian has committed criminal abuse. Child abusers should be severely prosecuted. We oppose actions of social agencies to classify traditional methods of discipline, including corporal punishment, as child abuse. As a condition of funding, publicly funded agencies are to report all instances of abuse.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog