Packed house on hand for heated curriculum debate - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Packed house on hand for heated curriculum debate


State Senator Dan Patrick and the Vice Chairman for the State Board of Education Thomas Ratliff spent Saturday night debating a controversial public school curriculum.

Patrick initiated the debate in an "anytime any place" offer and Ratliff accepted.  

The debate topic was CSCOPE,  a lesson plan and curriculum management tool used in public schools.

At the debate, nearly every seat was filled. Over 150 people were in attendance for a debate that became heated at times, and had interaction from the crowd who were all seeking answers about the confusion of CSCOPE. 

For Ratliff, he says he has seen support for the CSCOPE lesson plan.

"Tyler ISD has sent me some emails and Grand Prairie ISD testified in front of the Senate of Education Committee and they say it's invaluable to the brand new teacher," said Ratliff. "Teachers say don't force us to use it and as a master teacher, if I need it, I'll use it."

He also argues a positive response since the implementation of CSCOPE.

"Tyler ISD sent me an email the year before they adopted CSCOPE and their test scores were at a criteria level. Three years later all the test scores across the board in every subject were up," said Ratliff.

Senator Patrick on the other hand, disagrees.

"All the data we've seen so far has shown that school using CSCOPE perform about a third less in their scoring in standardized tests than schools that don't use it," said Patrick.

Patrick also has his own problems with CSCOPE.

"We have a program that was set up illegally, potentially illegally spent millions of dollars of tax payer money and is not providing a quality product to our schools," said Patrick.

"I'm standing up for the 875 school districts that have chosen to use this curriculum and whether they choose to use it going forward or not should be their choice," said Ratliff.  "Not a senator from Houston's choice."

Neither side of the issue left tonight's debate completely satisfied and the future of public school curriculum remains uncertain.

Ratliff says he is making everything he argued on the podium tonight available to the public.

If you'd like to see his documents supporting CSCOPE, he has made a Dropbox site available. Visit and login with the username and the password 'cscope.'

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