East Texas school districts not happy with removal of CSCOPE curriculum

Updated: May. 20, 2013 at 9:54 PM CDT
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An online curriculum system used by more than 800 school districts in Texas may no longer exist come August 31. As of Monday morning, teachers who use CSCOPE were notified that next school year they will no longer be able to use the developed lesson plans.

CSCOPE curriculum is used in 78 percent of all Texas school districts including many rural school districts in East Texas. Hudson, Huntington, Diboll, Corrigan-Camden, Kennard, Apple Springs, Zavalla, San Augustine, and Cushing Independent School districts are amongst the 875 school districts currently using CSCOPE lesson plans.

"CSCOPE is a compilation of some of the best lessons from across the state. In fact, that's my understanding that it was developed by teachers from across the state. They all submitted their best lessons on a particular topic," Corrigan-Camden ISD superintendent Tom Bowman said.

After a seven year run, a CSCOPE governing board, including Senator Dan Patrick has agreed to end these lesson plans.

Corrigan-Camden High School has been using the cost saving curriculum lesson plans for the past two years.

"For Dan Patrick to be deciding what's going to be in our curriculum is all at the heart of the problem for me," Bowman said. "I trust our local community and our local school board. I'll take my chances with my community and with my school board when it comes to making decisions about what we're teaching and how effectively we're teaching it."

Some parents have complained about the lesson plans stating teachers have steered away from the traditional way of teaching.

"CSCOPE is a live document and CSCOPE is only used as a model for primarily all schools. There is no set in stone lesson plan. Again, a live document is a working document. The teacher is supposed to go into the lesson and tweak that lesson that would fit what he or she is trying to teach," Beverly Cockrell, freshman English teacher, said.

The cost efficient curriculum is set up to help teachers prepare their students for Texas essential knowledge and skills tests.

Most East Texas school districts don't require their teachers to use CSCOPE but feel it has definitely been beneficial for beginning teachers.

Zavalla ISD said they will adapt the best possible way if the lesson plans are removed from CSCOPE.

Hudson ISD superintendent Mary Ann Whiteker said CSCOPE is a quality program that has been attacked based on lessons taken out of context. She is saddened the lesson plans will be removed and feels it is not fair for beginning teachers. She feels the legislature feels the need to monitor and control lesson plans.

"The CSCOPE era is over. However, what the last several months has proven is that the state will have to create a plan to monitor all on line material in the future so that our schools and classroom remain completely transparent to parents and the legislature knows what is being taught in our classrooms across Texas," Senator Dan Patrick said.

Regional Service Centers will not produce lesson plans in the future. The 20 Service Centers will return to their original business plan of providing a management tool for teachers to stay on schedule regarding the teaching of the required TEKS. The official vote will take place at an already scheduled Board meeting on Friday, May 24th.

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