For the last few days, we've been focusing on a controversial curriculum called CSCOPE. Now that controversy has swept across Texas, the legislature has actually stepped in to make sure oversight is better. In Pronews 7's final report on studying CSCOPE we look at how the state has taken control.
We discussed some of those issues the last few nights, of CSCOPE's opponents calling some of its guided lesson plans "anti-American" and factually wrong. And of parents not having accessibility to those lesson plans. Those are just a few reasons the legislature decided to do something. One person leading the fight to get oversight for CSCOPE has been State Senator Dan Patrick.
"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 the teachers," said President and Founder of WallBuilders, David Barton.
Those hearings happened last month. Senator Patrick introduced senate bill 1406, putting CSCOPE under the elected State Board of Education. He says that was never done since its implementation years ago. David Barton, an outspoken CSCOPE critic, says he's happy to see the changes.
"While I think they made some mistakes early on I think everything I'm seeing is they do want to make things accurate and right and historically truthful. They rolled it out prematurely not thinking about the backlash it would have if they had mistakes".
Following those hearings, www.cscope.us was created. It gives parents and concerned citizens a chance to learn about it, and to see what the lesson plans and requirements are.
"CSCOPE now is 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 Highland Park ISD Coordinator of Curriculum, Jill Swann.
"You can go on and look at the actual lessons that are in CSCOPE, you can learn exactly what the students are held accountable for in the state standards," said Canyon ISD Executive Director of Curriculum, Justin Richardson.
But even Barton sees the good in CSCOPE, like helping teachers and students prepare for the rigor of one of Texas' standardized tests.
"There's a lot of believe that this does help with the STAAR". School districts here in Region 16 that use CSCOPE agree.
"CISD has shown double digit growth in many areas especially in Math and Science and CSCOPE is one component of our improvement," said Richardson.
As he mentioned, school districts stress they don't rely solely on CSCOPE and use several curriculum management systems.
"CSCOPE is a great guide for us but I don't think that our district puts all its apples in any one basket or one barrel. We look for what's going to be the best for our students and whats going to help us individualize to help them with what they need," said Swann.
In the end, CSCOPE is part of the ever-growing battle in Texas education, with higher standards, harder tests, and controversy over getting students ready to make the grade.