STATE TO DROP CSCOPE
(AUSTIN) — A controversial curriculum program will no longer be used by public schools following pressure from state lawmakers. The lesson plan, known as CSCOPE, will no longer be available to school districts. Senate Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick of Houston said at a press conference that he has received a letter signed by all 20 CSCOPE board members that they will vote on Friday to end the program. " I am very pleased to announce that the era of CSCOPE lesson plans has come to an end," he said. "I think this is the best move forward for the regional service centers , for our parents for our students and our teachers."
CSCOPE was an optional curriculum developed by regional school authorities in an effort to create a common lesson plan for students and ease the burden on individual schools. Parents and legislators, however, took issue with some of the curriculum's content as well as the lack of transparency and government oversight in its creation. After a number of committee hearings, filed bills and potential state reviews, the CSCOPE board decided to cancel the curriculum. Patrick said that he will ask the State Board of Education to cancel a State Board of Education review of CSCOPE lesson plans. Similar legislation, scheduled for a Monday vote in the House, will also not go forward.
After the Legislature divided the state into 20 different regions in 1965, regional service centers were established to help coordinate education in each area. It was these centers that commissioned the development of CSCOPE beginning in 2006. The curriculum was aligned with state standardized tests, and by this year 70 percent of the districts in Texas were using the lesson plan. Parents testified at hearings that they found some of the content objectionable, and questioned why they weren't allowed to see lesson plans ahead of time or have some input into curriculum development.
Patrick said he hoped that the controversy surrounding CSCOPE won't overshadow the important role that regional service centers play in public education. "CSCOPE was never to reflect on the great work the regional service centers do," he said. "This was a program that had issues within the content of the lesson plans that brought concern to parents, legislatures and teachers as well as part of the business operations behind it."
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, May 21 at 10 a.m.
Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.