Texas Scraps Controversial CSCOPE Curriculum Support

Effective August 31st, the controversial CSCOPE curriculum support system designed to help Texas teachers align with state standards will be pulled from classrooms. State Senator Dan Patrick announced that all twenty board members that are responsible for overseeing the CSCOPE system have signed a letter that pledges to scrap the lesson plans.

 "The era of CSCOPE lesson plans has come to an end," Patrick, a Tea Party favorite who heads the Senate Education Committee, said at a news conference.

Will Weissert from Chron.com reports that this decision was spurred because of pressure from conservatives that worry the lesson plans were promoting anti-american values.

The criticism surrounding the lesson plans intensified upon the discovery that a lesson plan referred to Boston Tea Party Participants as terrorists. Students were also asked to design a flag for a new socialist country in another, and some conservatives believe the lesson plans promote Islamic values and question American patriotism.

 CSCOPE offers Web-based lesson plans and exams designed to help teachers adhere to state curriculum, especially those working in small districts that have trouble keeping up with Texas' copious rules. CSCOPE is used in 877 Texas school districts, or 78 percent of districts statewide, and is supposed to be flexible enough for teachers to alter content to meet their individual needs.

The system was created by the 20 state-run service centers around Texas which are designed to support school districts. It offers about 1,600 model lessons that districts can access for a fee of $7 per student, though additional training for teachers on how to use the system can increase the per-pupil price.

Many of the lesson plans were not available to the general public due to intellectual property concerns. That particularly bothered certain Tea Party groups who were worried about classrooms being corrupted by "bureaucrats shrouded in secrecy".

Dan Patrick's critics say conservatives are too distrusting and should let teachers and administrators generate their own lesson plans.

Now school districts are forced to scramble in order to create their own lesson plans in time.

Dan Quinn, of the watchdog group the Texas Freedom Network, said ending CSCOPE lesson plans "throws hundreds of school districts under the bus" and will leave districts scrambling to devise their own lesson plans.

"This is what happens when you get enough pressure from outside groups to gin up a witch hunt with extortions and exaggerations," Quinn said. "School districts are now going to have to come up with resources on their own to replace a service."

05 21, 2013
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