San Augustine residents hold town hall meeting to stop CSCOPE

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - The fate of the digital curriculum CSCOPE is currently being determined by the House of Representatives on whether or not it should be scrutinized just as much as Texas textbooks.

State Board of Education Representative for District 7 David Bradley said Senate Bill 1406 will be voted on this week about the programs lack of transparency. Bradley said CSCOPE is controversial because it is giving students the wrong message inside the classroom.

"Anytime that a teacher is instructed to educate our kids that the Boston Tea Party folks are terrorists, I think that's wrong," Bradley said.

CSCOPE is a teaching tool with pre-made lesson plans for Texas teachers. Around 875 Texas school districts are using the program, which is nearly 80 percent.

The program is marketed under the regional service centers, Bradley said, and has been promoted and marketed to help small districts with purchasing, curriculum, and training. He also says it's inexpensive.

"The biggest problem that CSCOPE has it that it was developed, and marketed, and developed and implemented under a shroud of secrecy," Bradley said.

However, CSCOPE released a public website in April that allows parents to access the lesson plans their kids are being taught. But residents in San Augustine say they aren't buying it.

During a town hall meeting Tuesday, Art Bedford said he believes CSCOPE is "dumbing down our kids."

"To me the only solution is to stop CSCOPE. Stop funding. Kill it. It is a digital curriculum, which means they can swap out lessons in a minute. There's no way to oversee that. They are kind of brainwashing these children," Bedford said.

Ben Powell, a resident of Hemphill, says he's angry with the program because it's teaching his grandchild "anti-American" lessons.

"Why do I say it's anti-American? Because of the way they are changing the history; changing the definition of our people, for example, that fought for our country. That are our heroes are now being called terrorists. I have a real problem with that," Powell said.

Bradley says one of the controversial topics that CSCOPE has decided to take out of its program is that Islamic Jihadists are now being called Freedom Fighters.

"It's kind of interesting when they say 'well, we've taken out that stuff that's about the Boston Tea Party being terrorists. Oh, well, we took that stuff out about the communism you didn't like.' That's the problem. They're shape shifters," Bradley said.

And the biggest question many folks are asking is why?

"Well, my question is we've had textbooks for years. Why can't a teacher just take a textbook and say there are so many chapters, I'll cover one a week and at the end of the semester, at the end of the year, I've covered everything I need to cover. My child is prepared to go onto the next class," Powell said.

But many teachers and school districts stand by the program saying that it provides a framework for curriculum, and prepares students for state assessment exams like the STAAR.

Bradley says he hopes the residents in San Augustine will continue to fight against CSCOPE and talk to their local legislature and school districts about their concerns.

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