POSTED: Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 5:55pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 4, 2013 - 6:54pm
You probably haven’t heard of CSCOPE unless you’re a teacher in Texas. But it has become the only curriculum used by 70% of the state’s school districts. And it is controversial.
The controversy usually falls into two camps. One is political…folks who want history or comparative religion taught through the lens of their political beliefs. The other is teachers themselves and their worries about using CSCOPE.
Teachers don’t like it particularly. And school districts love it. And those of us who are of a certain age will be amazed.
For this curriculum you won’t need a history book, a math book, a geography book or social studies. You just need a laptop for CSCOPE.
The onlline curriculum was developed by the 20 Educational Service Centers in Texas. They are taxpayer funded but when they developed cscope in 2006, they formed a non-profit company to market it to the very schools they serve. And the cost is substantial.
Now, some websites have called the program socialist, islamic, or tied to some UN conspiracy. Those criticisms are basically political and frankly, inaccurate. It’s development occurred during a time of Republican domination of the state school board, and Republican control of all areas of state government.
Teachers by and large dislike it because it is riddled with errors and they aren’t allowed to be teachers.
”It doesn’t allow you as a teacher to use your creativity,” says Jamie Womack of the American Federation of Teachers. “And that’s the big issue with it for teacher. It doesn’t allow them that opportunity to be creative and branch out and find other resources to teach this concept.”
But if you’re a parent, who cares if it works? If only it did.
“You know, you have some districts that are rated unacceptable this time,” Womack says, “that teachers feet have been held to the fire on teaching this curriculum.”
Tyler, Longview and Van are among the70% of Texas districts using CSCOPE. Lindale and Kilgore do not. TISD is rated Acceptable by the state, the third lowest of 4 rating levels.
And in an aft survey, 75% of TISD teachers said CSCOPE does not adequately prepare students for the next grade. And of the 59% of TISD students taking the SAT or ACT, only 23% met the standards. The legislature held hearings on CSCOPE Thursday.