Pronews 7 explained CSCOPE in our first report on the subject Sunday night. We're now getting to the controversy surrounding the curriculum management system. Why have state leaders, educators and even parents been up-in-arms over it?
Go to the internet and search CSCOPE and you're hit with a wave of information on the controversy surrounding this curriculum management system. So what's true? What's being fixed? Are these controversial lesson plans being used in our schools? That controversy has spread statewide. But Region 16 Executive Director John Bass says none of the 47 school districts using it here, have complaints about the system or problems.
"Some of the issues deal with the lessons. There are some optional lessons that we call sample lessons or exemplarity lessons that a district can use those if they want to or they can choose their own," said Bass.
"When they made their initial release people said wow, what's this and there were bad lesson examples here and there and so then at that point they came back to said hey, what do we need to do to fix this kind of stuff," said President and Founder of WallBuilders, David Barton.
So what ere those bad lesson plans? David Barton who was one of six expert reviewers during the Social Studies TEKS adoption in 2010, calls them anti-American.
"Those in the Boston Tea Party were parallel to terrorist there was another example where you're creating a country, so create a flag for this socialist country rather than a free and independent country as we could expect".
Parents and state leaders have also complained about the amount of time spent on teaching our students about certain faiths and religions like Muslim. But speaking to both Canyon and Highland Park Independent School Districts, who've been using CSCOPE for years, they say those lesson plans have not been used in their schools. Adding, lesson plans are optional and other resources are used as well.
"Our teachers have never been held to the lessons. The lessons are just one resource that our teachers have. We have many resources at our finger tips," said CISD Executive Director of Curriculum, Justin Richardson.
"If they have their own materials and lessons that are at the same or higher rigor and relevance to what CSCOPE has to offer then our teachers have the option to supplement with what they have available but we found a lot of our teachers really do like what CSCOPE has. Trusting our teachers they're the experts in their classrooms and as they do their lesson plans to really examine the information and present it to our students in a way that we feel is most appropriate for them," said Highland Park ISD Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction, Jill Swann.
Barton says when CSCOPE first rolled out, their lessons, unlike textbooks did not have reviewers looking at them. But he says, since an uproar was cast on these lesson plans, those and many more factual errors have been fixed.
"They're not trying to push an agenda from what I can tell, because they want to talk and say hey where can we make this strong. You're right that was a bad presentation of that so now, they're have some reviewers in," said Barton.
Another controversy is that parents can not access or know the material their child is being taught. Bass says parents have always been able to talk with teachers, principals and superintendents about those in our Region 16 schools.
"Parents have always had access to CSCOPE by going to their school. There's never been a gag order," said Bass.
"When this got pulled into the legislature, Senator Dan Patrick had hearings on it. And a lot of this got vented that, how come parents can't see these, how come parents are not able to get this from teachers," said Barton.
So in the last few months, www.cscope.us was created. Giving all parents access to any lesson plans
"CSCOPE is now available for parents to look at anytime just to see what an example of the lessons are. To see what CSCOPE suggest, but since its just suggested for us I think our parents know our teachers are going to be providing what their kids need," said Swann.