CSCOPE Questions Still Remain. Over this past year much discussion, many questions and serious concerns have been raised about CSCOPE at the state and local levels. This debate, mostly conducted by the anti-CSCOPE side, pertains to our most important asset, our children. This is not about the teachers nor their professional judgments to do what is best for ‘their’ kids – as we have great teachers. It is not just about the lessons, or the assessments (tests) or even the scope and sequence (the what/when). It is not necessarily about the Legislature poking their noses too often into what should be ‘local control’ (which they do too much of). Those are important but I believe it is a lot more than that.
It is about the FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION of our education system, at the national (Common Core) and the State (CSCOPE) levels. The vary use of those words – fundamental transformation – should automatically sound all sorts of alarms. At the very least these words should arouse enough interest that we as parents, grand-parents, taxpayers, or citizens should be asking tough questions.
This ‘debate’ is about the education process; individualism versus collectivism. Traditional education (aka Type #1), one that has proven to be successful for decades, is described as “knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level-specific content that is tested largely through objectively scored tests -- These standards (TEKS) are built from K through Grade 12 and are taught mostly through direct, systematic instruction.” (Donna Garner)
While this new (fundamental transformation) approach (aka Type #2) “Project-based, subjective (emphasize cognitive domain – beliefs, opinions, emotions), subjectively assessed based upon the value system of the evaluator -- emphasize multiculturalism, political correctness, environmental extremism, diversity, social justice agenda.” (Donna Garner) “There is a huge body of evidence from around the globe demonstrating the advantages of explicitly showing learners how to solve problems as opposed to having them discover how to solve the same problems.” (Prof. John Sweller)
Questions specifically related to CSCOPE; 1) why have the sources and authors of the CSCOPE instructional materials NEVER been identified, other than “by teachers for teachers”, (text books source everything). 2) why do you suppose the State Board of Education (SBOE), our elected officials, agreed to begin reviewing these lessons this past spring, 3) why did TESCCC (developers of CSCOPE) agree to remove the lessons as fast as they could when questions were asked, 4) why do you suppose the Texas Legislature voted overwhelmingly (SB1406, 109 – 38/House; 29 – 1/Senate) to put CSCOPE under SBOE review/adoption authority, and 5) why did the SBOE again agree to review CSCOPE, this fall, after questions about SB1406’s authority were questioned.
So where are the safe guards, the checks and balances? At the State level – perhaps; but a CSCOPE review has not been done yet, the materials have not been checked. So why then do you suppose local school boards and administrations across the state want to allow these ‘instructional materials’ to be used when all these CSCOPE questions still remain unanswered? Why not error on the side of caution and not use them.
What should a parent do? Ask to see the instructional materials, you have that right according to the Texas Education Code. Ask to see all of them. Evaluate and judge for yourself. It is your Obligation to your children.
Bill Hussey, Llano, Texas