Thursday, May 23, 2013

CSCOPE Loses Battle, Fight Continues

CSCOPE is a controversial educational tool and networking suite used in over 800 school districts in the state of Texas. As of Monday May 20, 2013, the system will no longer offer lesson plans.

SB 1406 places online, digital, or other collaborative curricula, such as CSCOPE, under the auspices of the State Board of Education and subject to the review, audit, and approval process that text books and other educational media must undergo. As of May 22, 2013, SB 1046 has passed both houses of the Texas Legislature, been enrolled, and sent to Governor Perry for signature.

Sec. 8.0531.  INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS DEVELOPED BY A COLLABORATION OF REGIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE CENTERS. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter or Section 8.001(c), instructional lessons developed as part of a curriculum management system by a regional education service center, acting alone or in collaboration with one or more other regional education service centers, shall be subject to the same review and adoption process as outlined in Section 31.022.

CSCOPE History of Controversy

The move comes after CSCOPE came under fire for several controversial curricula and lesson plans came to light. Among those controversial curricula was one lesson that mandated a US Citizen to stand and pledge allegiance to the country of Mexico. Others had math problems designed to indoctrinate elementary school students in wealth redistribution commonly used in socialist tyrannies.

State Senator Dan Patrick led a charge to place CSCOPE under state board of education oversight. Among the major concerns parents had with CSCOPE was a perceived lack of transparency in the system. Parents were denied access to the lesson plans and curricula CSCOPE offered. Parental rights, opponents of CSCOPE claim, were infringed. Parents were placed in a reactive role, unable to screen educational tools and lessons their children would be exposed to until after the kids were subjected to them.

Many opponents of CSCOPE argue that the program and software suite was being used as a means to "backdoor" the Common Core State Standards Initiative (Common Core) into Texas schools.

The Texas 83rd legislative session has passed several bills banning Common Core from Texas schools. Some believe that this may have spurred some advocates of Common Core to sneak Common Core Curricula items into the CSCOPE system.

CSCOPE Will Still Be Used

Though CSCOPE will no longer share lesson plans, the program isn't going away. Instead, it is being reconfigured to contain schedules and tips for assisting teachers in enabling students to meet gateways and hurdles.

CSCOPE was not outlawed. Instead, Senator Dan Patrick suggested that more oversight be given to all digital and online educational tools used by educational institutions. CSCOPE is but one online educational tool available to educators, parents, and students.

The Texas Tribune published this article on the CSCOPE decision and reactions from both sides of the issue.