Cure self-help addiction

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The district and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board have approved the replacement of a humanities credit with EDUC 1300, Learning Framework, in the core curriculum.

In spite of protests from faculty across the district, the change is set to become effective in fall 2014. EDUC 1300 is a 16-week course based on a non-college-level student development course.

To qualify the course to be in the core curriculum, it had to be dressed up with learning theory. It will feature Stephen R. Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” a self-help bestseller published in 1989.

Another phrase that has entered the discussion is “Principle-Centered Leadership,” another of Covey’s titles.

An entire semester of this?

The lessons are meant to be fully realized in seven weeks.

The faculty is being trained in 2 ½-day seminars.

Elementary schools also teach it.

If district administrators think these habits are effective enough to spend a reported $3.5 million — and counting — on training and supplies, they should seek to include it in the current student development course.

That course — which does not count as a college-level class — is aimed at students who demonstrate need.

Don’t dumb down the curriculum for students who are doing just fine with their own habits.

Meanwhile, the trustees and chancellor have certainly developed a habit of questionable spending while tacking on a new fee or tuition hike each passing year.

This is the third core change since fall 2010.

They first removed kinesiology hours and a science lab. Ironically, the science labs are precisely what complicates a degree plan at the university level.

Students are often required to complete eight hours of one science. That means labs included.

Exclude kinesiology? In one of America’s more obese cities? Good thinking.

The second core change turned literature classes, once a required core credit, into a humanities choice.

What’s next? “Think and Grow Rich” for business classes?

Replace science credits with Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” of laws of attraction?

“Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus” or “He’s Just Not That Into You” in place of courses on marriage and family or human sexuality?

If you are not in the classroom, you don’t know who the students are or what they need; you have no business dictating changes.

Perhaps the trustees and the chancellor need some self-help schooling of their own.

We suggest the No. 1 best-selling self-help book of all time, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People.”


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