February 05, 2013

Why are Texas Taxpayers buying this controversial curriculum?

CSCOPE is a program that has been sold to over 850 Texas public, private and charter schools which is reported to be a curriculum management system. CSCOPE is sold by the taxpayer-funded Regional Education Service Centers.

Directors of the Education Service Centers together created a non-profit shell organization called TESCCC  – Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative – which exists in name only. The Regional Service Center directors serve as the directors of this shell non-profit. They have met and worked without public oversight, using the non-profit as a shield against open records and open meetings.

CSCOPE is controversial by virtue of the veil of secrecy which surrounds, its financial trail (or lack thereof) and its controversial lesson plans.

Teachers have been required to sign a form which keeps them from discussing CSCOPE and from publicly criticizing the lesson plans. Parents have not been given access to the lesson plans. Even the elected State Board of Education chairman was not given access to the curriculum for six months.

Some curriculum specialists claim CSCOPE utilizes Common Core Standards, something the Obama Administration has been pushing and which Texas has soundly rejected. Common Core Standards take control away from local educators and increases the cost while not increasing the rigor or student outcomes.

Texas Senate Chairman Dan Patrick held a full-day hearing on CSCOPE on Jan 31.  Following that most amazing hearing (which AFP-Texas director Peggy Venable was invited to testify along with some outstanding citizens who have worked to reveal problems with CSCOPE) Chrmn Patrick issued a statement that the ESC’s were to open their meetings to the public, shut down the non-profit TESCCC and allow parents to see the lesson plans their students were using.

The latter is a requirement of the state that lesson plans be made available to parents, something the CSCOPE plan did not and therefore was in violation of state law.

Texas taxpayers and educators across the country have been talking about CSCOPE for months, but now the light of public scrutiny has been shed on the operation and the lesson plans.

Representative Steve Toth has introduced HB 760 which would put the Regional Service Centers and online curriculum under the oversight of the elected State Board of Education. We at AFP support that legislation. This legislation currently has 5 authors and 32 coauthors – (We expect those numbers to grow.)

Chrmn Patrick and Sen. Donna Campbell sponsored SB 1406 which does the same.  A hearing was held April 2 and passed out of committee April 4th with a vote of 7-0. The April 2nd hearing can be viewed here: Senate Education (Part 1) and Senate Education (Part 2).

It is clear some Senators are not open to public review of CSCOPE and we encourage their constituents to be asking why.

We encourage citizens to take action, talk to your school board and see if your district uses CSCOPE and if it does, work to get it out of your District.  Call your legislators and ask them to support SB 1406 and HB 760.  Help educate more citizens on what is going on in our schools by joining AFP-Texas.

We will be providing regular reports on legislative action – below are some links to websites which may be of interest to you.

Texas students deserve better – and we will be working to make that happen. 

Read more about CSCOPE

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We welcome your comments.



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