Facts? Who Needs ’Em!

Some Critical Thinking in Texas

In 2006, lawmakers in the Lone Star State were horrified that a large percentage of Texas high-school graduates required remedial courses to gain the skills needed to succeed in college.  So they directed the commissioner of higher education and the commissioner of education to assemble teams of college and high-school faculty to recommend changes to the state curriculum that would incorporate college-readiness skills.

They made one costly mistake, however: They let the education bureaucracy run the process.  It should come as no surprise, then, that the first draft of the standards proposed by the social-studies “Vertical Teams” on October 25, 2007, does not require students to know much of anything about American or Western civilization.  It does, however, expect students to understand and regurgitate the prevailing ideology found at most American universities.

“The Vertical Teams (VTs) chose deliberately not to identify lists of facts that students must master to be ready for college,” reads the introduction to the proposed social-studies college-readiness standards:

This should not be interpreted to mean that students should not be mastering a range of specific information about social systems and phenomena.  Instead, the standards assume that students will utilize their understanding of events, social systems, and human behavior to develop greater insight...

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