POSTED: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 6:29pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 12:15pm
KETK took a look at the CSCOPE curriculum used in 70% of Texas school districts a few days ago, and that generated several responses.
We examined the objections most teachers had about the program’s rapid pace, and rigid restrictions on what some saw as teacher creativity in the classroom.
But some conservative groups have been circulating an email charging the coursework is pro-Islamic in its section on comparative religions.
“There are lessons that incorporate comparative religions because those are in our standards,” says Nancy Swanson director of curriculum for TISd. “Our students are required to learn about the 7 major religions because they have such a great impact on our country and the relationships that our country has with other countries.”
They also point to a project where 6th grade students were asked to design a flag for a new nation…a socialist nation.
The Irving school District got the same emails and commissioned a study of the charges.
They found no religious bias, and in the world religions section, Christianity was mentioned twice as much as any other faith.
The investigation found the only religious bias was against radical Islam.
The flag project was not for 6th graders but high school students and was an exercise to engage the student as the subject of communism was introduced in world history.
That section was specifically geared toward a past version of the TEKS test, and is no longer included.
The email charges that CSCOPE claims the Boston Tea Party was an act of terrorism.
Actually, that lesson, which is no longer in the curriculum, was a demonstration that the same act can be viewed differently from different perspectives, specifically, the American versus British point of view.
The email never mentions the context.
“We want our students to be very critical thinkers,” Swanson says, “so that means we want kids to be able to look at things from multiple perspectives. We want them to be able to compare and contrast concepts and movements and people and ideas and cultures and all of those things.”
I n fact, the email appears to take elements out of context, according to the Irving study.
Whatever CSCOPE’s faults, they concluded, bias wasn’t one of them.
“And we’re really hoping we can open that up even further so that parents have more ease in accessing some of these documents in Cscope,” Swanson told us. “And I think it will quell some of their anxieties and fears about what’s happing in their schools.”